[78-L] Alvino Rey and The Kings

Dan Van Landingham danvanlandingham at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 21 16:14:56 PDT 2010

I had a Bluebird  copy of "The Major and The Minor".I learned how to play softly and in tune via Skeets 
Herfurt's alto solo."Strip Polka was in the reverse and it was issued on that Reader's Digest set of "The
Great Band Era".In fact,I memorised Herfurt's solo.Skeets was a good friend of mine and we correspon-
ded via phone from 1982 until he died in April of 1992.Skeets told me of those days with Rey as well as
his days with Tommy Dorsey and his association with Glenn Miller when Miller was a part of the Dorsey
Brothers Orchestra.I wonder if Billy May did the arrangement of "The Major and The Minor"?I know that
May was moonlighting with Rey at the same time he was with Miller.I had read,via George T. Simon's bo-
ok on Miller,that the two didn't part on friendly terms.Miller wanted May to sign with one of his music pub-
lishing companies and he wouldn't."Strip Polka" was just another big band arrangement to me.I means not-
hing."The Major and The Minor" was another record that was a part of my "musical reference books".I dug
the solid,full sound the Herfurt led sax section had.Skeets owned about 15% of the band as I recall.He told
me about how Rey contacted him about joining the band via his ham radio.I had spoken to Rey on a few
occasions the last being in 1994.I wished I had kept in touch with him more often;I could say the same thing
about Jack Sperling who told me of his days with Bunny Berigan and John Best and his days with Shaw and Glenn Miller.I don't think John was too fond of him either from what I gathered. via our conversations.

From: Geoffrey Wheeler <dialjazz at verizon.net>
To: 78-l at klickitat.78online.com
Sent: Tue, April 20, 2010 8:04:16 PM
Subject: [78-L]  Alvino Rey and The Kings

Speaking of Alvino Rey, Al simmons says:“Good band..good charts. He 
opened with "The Strip Polka"  Hot stuff. Next number "The Major and 
The Minor"

Earl Bostic made an excellent recording of his and Redd Evans tune “The 
Major and the Minor” for Majestic. The sound is “boxy,” as though it 
were recorded in a closet. The Alvino Rey Bluebird recording of the 
tune is also excellent. Both recordings should be better known.

A surprising band of the early Forties was Shep Fields’ reeds orchestra 
that recorded for Bluebird. The recordings feature wonderful 
arrangements and playing, and the band swings nicely. When he was 
featured, Charlie Shavers generally took excellent solos that made him 
a distinctive sound and stylist. He could just about blow everybody 
else off the stand. He was also a standout with the Raymond Scott 
Orchestra on CBS stateside and short-wave broadcasts.
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