Joe Haymes

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Joe Haymes is a completely forgotten name yet during the swing era he was one of the more talented arrangers. Unfortunately he was not much of a businessman and tended to be passive so two potentially…
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Joe Haymes is a completely forgotten name yet during the swing era he was one of the more talented arrangers. Unfortunately he was not much of a businessman and tended to be passive so two potentially impressive big bands that he started were taken over by stronger personalities. Haymes, who grew up in Springfield, Missouri, began his performing career quite colorfully, working with a travelling circus as a trapeze artist (!) and playing bass drum with the circus band. He was self-taught as a pianist and arranger, led and arranged for a local dance orchestra and landed his first major job with Ted Weems in the late 1920's. Among the many arrangements that he wrote for Weems was the major hit "Piccolo Pete." Haymes formed his first big band in 1930, they played six months at the Mayo Hotel in Tulsa and then relocated to New York. The Joe Haymes Orchestra did quite well for a time and started recording in 1932 but in Nov. 1933 Buddy Rogers negotiated to take over the big band. Haymes next put together a swinging orchestra but, when Tommy Dorsey split with Jimmy Dorsey in 1935, TD swiped a dozen of Haymes' players. The arranger organized a third orchestra however nothing much came of it commercially. Haymes freelanced for other big bands (touring with Les Brown in 1938), spent time living in Oklahoma in the 1940's then wrote anonymously for the Hollywood studios and for CBS in New York before his death in the late 1960's. Joe Haymes' orchestras recorded extensively during 1932-37 (although he himself did not play) and his sidemen through the years included clarinetist Johnny Mince, trumpeters Pee Wee Erwin and Sterling Bose, and tenor-saxophonist Bud Freeman (during 1934-35). The music ranged from swinging instrumentals to crazy novelties, adventurous arrangements to run-ofthe-mill dance music. However, no matter what the style, Joe Haymes was unable to create a niche for himself.