Tony Pastor

1945-1949

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After his first band turned out to be not overly successful, Tony Pastor joined Artie Shaw's Orchestra and became an important member of the sax section and one of Shaw's feature vocalists. When Shaw broke up his band to run off to Mexico, Pastor pulled together another group which became much more successful, despite some early bouts of bad judgment, over confidence, or both. Early on Pastor led his group into two battle of the band contests, the first pitted against Duke Ellington and the second against Count Basie.

Pastor is noted mostly for his novelty tunes. There was "Bell Bottom Trousers" with Ruth McCullough on vocal. She is on this album, but with a much more "responsible" "I'm Beginning to See the Light." Pastor also did well with another musical bauble, "Dance with the Dolly with the Hole in Her Stocking." The band represented on this album is much more jazz and swing oriented. There are some excellent up-tempo barn burners like "Cherokee" and "Take the "A" Train." The former is arranged differently than the better known Charlie Barnet's and stands on its own feet. Pastor, whose singing style was influenced by Louis Armstrong, has a couple of tunes which he does in his distinctive gruff voice. The band also took a flier at playing bop oriented material with Gil Fuller's "Biddy Bop." But the one thing that Pastor is remembered most for is giving a 17-year old Rosemary Clooney her first big break in 1947. Although most of her singing was done as part of a duo with her sister - - here with "Euphoria" where they bop scat- - she was on her way to a long, illustrious career as one of America's best loved pop singers. Other notables passing through Pastor's organization were Dave Pell, Joe Pass and Chauncey Welsch

Some of the tunes on this album have been reissued on CD as part of Pastor of big band compilations. The others await similar treatment.

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