RECALLING MUSIC OF THE PAST
String bass and tuba player, Joe Tarto, was most helpful to my
record research efforts. Joe had a summer place near
Wallenpaupack Lake in PA where I vacationed occasionally. Joe
also played and made many arrangements for the Band of America
broadcasts, under the direction of Paul Lavelle. But that’s another
Joe Tarto, quite an autograph seeker in early days, showed me his
autograph book to clarify information I presented in my “Small
Change” column in Record Research for Nov/Dec 1959. This
submission deals with the 50-50 partnership of Don Voorhees and
Red Nichols (verified by several musicians as well as Tarto’s
book). However, Voorhees denied to me in the late 1900’s that he
had such a partnership when I spoke with him in Stone Harbor, NJ
where both of us had 2nd homes.
During this partnership, they hired the band for the Broadway show
“Rain or Shine”, as well as Joe Venuti as concertmeister. The pit
band was under the name of Don Voorhees. In Voorhees absence,
Venuti fronted the band. Red Nichols did not play in the pit band.
During this period, CBS leased 10 hours per week to radio station
WOR, 1440 Broadway, for their network programs. Red was the
playing contractor for one year, starting September 1927. This
recording band was also known as the Don Voorhees Orchestra.
Tarto’s book shows all the band members for “Rain or Shine”,
signed in 1928. Here they are just as they signed their names
(instruments are added for completeness): Don Voorhees (leader);
Freddie Farrar, Mannie Klein (tp); Charlie Butterfield (tb); Dudley
Fostick (mellophone); Joe Vemuti, Joe Raymond, Henri
Whiteman, Bob Gates (vi); Theo. Fishberg (viola); Albert Zifskin
(cello); Arnold Brilhart, Fud Livingston, Max Farle, Don Murray
(reeds); Salvatore Massaro (Eddie Lang–g); Joe Tarto (st. b); Frank
Signorelli (p); Chauncey Morehouse (dm).
The personnel did not remain constant the entire run of the show.
First of all, Joe Raymond, definitely a member of Voorhees’ WOR
band -- we assume he was subbing the night Tarto’s book was
signed. During the run of the show, some changes took place in
the reed section.
Although neither Brilhart nor Tarto recall the Dorsey brothers in
the “Rain or Shine” band; Nichols was absolutely certain that both
Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey played in the band for a short time. As
a matter of fact, Red claims JD took Fud’s chair. In support of
Red’s statement, the July 1958 issue of Jazz Journal states: “In the
spring of 1928, Dudley Fosdick returned to New York and joined
the pit band organized by Voorhees for “Rain or Shine”. Other
stars included Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Joe Venuti and Eddie
The WOR band that broadcasted over CBS was: Red Nichols
(cor); Leo McConville (tp); Miff Mole (tb); Bill Trone (tb &
mellophone); Phil Gleason, Fred Morrow, Paul Cartwright (reeds);
Joe Raymond (vi); Arthur Schutt (p); Dick McDonough (bjo & g);
Jack Hansen (st.b); Vic Berton (dm).
According to Tarto, after “Rain or Shine” closed, the bulk of the
band became the Roger Wolfe Kahn Orchestra. Here again, the
autograph book shows that the following men were playing with
Kahn in early 1929: Tony Gianelli, John O. Egan (tp), Charles
Butterfield (tb); Dudley Fosdick (melllophone); Joe Venuti, Henri
Whiteman (vi); Harold White (?); Jimmy Dorsey, Fred Morrow,
Irving (Babe) Rusin, Max Farle (reeds); Eddie Lang (g); Joe Tarto
(st.b); Jack Rusin (p); Chauncey Morehouse (dm). The personnel
of the band, however, did not remain unchanged for long. For
example, Venuti and Lang joined Whiteman in May 1929.
Now you know who was where or when!
Need time to digest!.
This message has been edited by ahaim on Mar 13, 2017 3:55 PM