Digging deep into the vault this week for a performance by The Gene Krupa Band, featuring the legendary singer Anita O’Day, along with
the pre Bop-For-The-Peaple Charlie Ventura on saxophone, recorded at The Hollywood Palladium for the Coca-Cola Spotlight Band radio series in 1946. Krupa was one of the key figures of the Big Band era; a drummer who took, up until the late 1930s, the often-mundane role of tempo keeper and turned playing drums into a virtuoso experience. His standout performances while playing with the Benny Goodman band made for an easy transition to forming his own band. Krupa also made the transition over to smaller group endeavors later in the 1940s, and was also a Band leader with an eye and ear for talent.
Anita O’Day was one of the greatest Jazz singers during a time fairly bursting with astonishing talent. Along with the Sarah Vaughans, Ella Fitzgeralds and Billie Holidays of the Jazz world, O’Day held her own with her unique phrasing and pure tone. After putting in time with Krupa she struck out on her own, and what followed was a legacy of some of the greatest albums Verve put out in the 1950s. She was going strong all the way until her death in 2006 at 87.
Charlie Ventura made the transition over from Big Band to Be-Bop in the late 1940s and grabbed a goodly chunk of audience popularity in the process. His early small combo recordings as Charlie Ventura’s Bop For The People were wildly popular and did much to promote Be-Bop to a mainstream audience.
So this is just post-World War 2 – that period of time when things were in a state of flux, tastes were starting to change, dancing was slowly taking a backseat to listening and the economic tenor of the times made supporting a Big Band less and less attractive. Things were changing, and you can catch a glimpse of it here – but it’s still The Palladium and one of the biggest dance venues on the West Coast.
Crank it up and enjoy.