Sunday, July 25, 2010

William Gottlieb's Jazz Photos, Part 6: Ray McKinley

Ray McKinley (1910–95) got his start working with local bands in the Dallas–Fort Worth area, before joining Smith Ballew in 1929, when he met Glenn Miller. The two formed a friendship which lasted from 1929 until Miller's death in 1944. McKinley and Miller joined the Dorsey Brothers in 1934. Miller left for Ray Noble in December 1934, while McKinley remained. The Dorsey Brothers band became Jimmy's after Tommy left and formed his own band in 1935.McKinley remained with Jimmy until 1939, when he joined Will Bradley, becoming co-leader. McKinley and Bradley split in 1942 and McKinley formed his own band, which recorded for Capitol Records. The McKinley band was short-lived. When McKinley broke up the band, he joined Glenn Miller's Army Air Force band, which he co-led with arranger Jerry Gray after Miller's disappearance in December 1944. Upon being discharged at the end of the following year, McKinley formed an excellent, remarkably modern big band that featured a book of original material by legendary arranger Eddie Sauter. But with the business in decline, by 1950 that band was history and McKinley began evolving into a part-time leader and sometime radio and TV personality. In 1956, capitalizing on the popularity of the Glenn Miller Story movie with James Stewart, McKinley was chosen to be the leader of the revived Glenn Miller band, which he led until 1966. He co-hosted (with former Air Force band vocalist Johnny Desmond) a 13-week CBS-TV summer series with the band on CBS-TV in 1961. (from Wikipedia)

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