WMKY

Bunny Berigan on Big Band Boulevard

Jan 17, 2020

Credit IMDb

Big Band Boulevard

Program #26 (January 19, 2020 at 6 p.m.)

Big Band and swing tunes with featured trumpeter and bandleader Bunny Berigan. Also selections from Erskine Hawkins, Benny Goodman, and Jimmie Lunceford.

Bunny Berigan enjoyed a relatively brief period of fame, lasting from 1931 through 1939 -- for the first half of those eight years a rapidly rising name within the music business, and for the second as a star before the public, featured in the bands he played in and leading his own outfit. And from 1935 through 1939, he was regarded as the top trumpeter in jazz (with his main competition being Louis Armstrong and Roy Eldridge). Yet despite the brevity of his career and his all-too-short life, he remains one of the most compelling trumpet players in the history of the music, and in the 21st century, six decades after his death, his work was still being compiled in premium-priced box sets that had an audience. It's all in the sheer quality of his work -- blessed with a beautiful tone and a wide range (Berigan's low notes could be as memorable as his upper-register shouts), Berigan brought excitement to every session he appeared on. He was not afraid to take chances during his solos and could be a bit reckless, but Berigan's successes and occasional failures were always colorful to hear, at least until he drank it all away.

(www.allmusic.com - Artist Biography by Scott Yanow)