Benny Carter and his orchestra this week – along with a host of guests on this episode of Jubilee from April 16, 1945. Just one of the many music programs done for the Armed Forces Radio Service during World War 2.
Benny Carter had an amazingly long career – going from the 1920’s almost up until his death in 2003. Performing, arranging and writing, he remained a vital part of the Jazz world for a very long time – and fifteen years after his death, he’s still regarded as one of the true legends of Jazz.
The other performers on this show are just as significant. Nat “King” Cole had long established himself as a key figure in Jazz before dabbling in mainstream pop later on in the 1950s. At this point (1945) he was still primarily a pianist, leading a trio that had a huge following, thanks to Radio at the time. Cole, as well as Carter did a lot to break through the color barrier that was so prevalent in music up to the 1950s.
During the late 1930s the trio recorded radio transcriptions for Capitol. They performed on the radio programs Swing Soiree, Old Gold, The Chesterfield Supper Club, Kraft Music Hall, and The Orson Welles Almanac.
Cole appeared in the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts in 1944. He was credited on Mercury as “Shorty Nadine”, a derivative of his wife’s name, because he had an exclusive contract with Capitol since signing with the label the year before. He recorded with Illinois Jacquet and Lester Young.
King Cole Trio Time on NBC with Cole on piano, Oscar Moore on guitar, and Johnny Miller on double bass, 1947
In 1946 the trio broadcast King Cole Trio Time, a fifteen-minute radio program. This was the first radio program to be sponsored by a black musician. Cole began recording and performing pop-oriented material in which he was often accompanied by a string orchestra. His stature as a popular star was cemented during this period by hits such as “All for You” (1943), “The Christmas Song” (1947), “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66”, “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons” (1946), “There! I’ve Said It Again” (1947), “Nature Boy” (1948), “Frosty The Snowman”, “Mona Lisa” (No. 1 song of 1950), “Orange Colored Sky” (1950), “Too Young” (No. 1 song of 1951).
Settle in and hit the Play button (and click on a few ads while you’re at it – we need the money). Besides, it’s Sunday – relax. Monday’s going to be crazy enough.