b. 18 January 1896, USA, d. 3 February 1965, Los Angeles, California, USA. Kassel formed his first dance band in 1924 for an appearance at the Midway Gardens in Chicago, Illinois, USA. His full-scale orchestra included, at various times, sidemen Jack Davis, Ponzi Crunz, Ralph Morris, D. Johnson, Floyd Townes, Carl Bertram, Cliff Masterler, Bob Hill, John Jacobs, Ben Bensman, Paul Matlow, Emil Elias, Bob McReynolds, Don Gershman, Charlie Amsterdam, George Yadon, Mike Simpson, Louis Math, Horace Robbins, Fred Benson, Bernie Woods, John Engro, John Gilliland, Larry Hall, Floyd Shaw, Mac Newton, Frank Folmar, Eddie Burbach, Art Waynes, Danny Bridge, James Hefti, Cub Higgins, Roy Henderson, Harvey Crawford, Don Baker, Charlie Kramer, Marty Rogers, Warren Smith, George Winslow, Pete Dudlinger, Milt Samuels, Bob Dayton, Ken Switzer, John Byrne, Tom Taddonic, Jimmy McPartland, Bud Freeman, Dave Tough and even Benny Goodman for a spell. The group’s vocalists were Norman Ruvell, Thal Taylor, Billie Leach, Harvey Crawford, Grace Dunn, Marian Holmes, Gloria Hart and the group’s own three-piece vocal act, the Kassel Trio. Led by Kassel himself on saxophone, the orchestra’s engagements after their Midway Gardens bow included the Aragon and Trianon Ballrooms in Chicago, with frequent airplay on the sponsored Shell Oil Company Show, Elgin Watch Show and Wildroot Hair Oil Show. They remained based almost exclusively in the Midwest region, with a 15-year engagement at the Bismarck Hotel in Chicago, until Kassel relocated to the west coast in the late 50s. This move brought engagements at the Hollywood Palladium and Myron’s Ballroom is Los Angeles, then the Golden West Ballroom in Norwalk. They also appeared on television for two seasons on a locally networked show. After Kassel’s death in February 1965 his band continued to play the west coast circuit, where their theme song, ‘Doodle-Doo-Doo’, was now among dance band music’s most famous compositions.
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