Thursday, May 5, 2016

Music In The Modern Manner - The Hudson-DeLange Orchestra (1936-38)

Swing emerged with the rise of big bands mid-1930s in the USA, and while the music of orchestras led by Jimmie Lunceford, Cab Calloway, Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Glenn Miller and many others is still played today and appreciated by swing music fans, a then popular band co-led by songwriter/arranger Will Hudson (1908-1981) and songwriter/vocalist Eddie DeLange (1904-1949) - The Hudson-DeLange Orchestra - is almost forgotten by contemporary big band swing enthusiasts. The reason for this unfair treatment of some great music may partly depend on the short lived existence of the Hudson-DeLange Orchestra and further on the sad fact that the music of the band has not been reissued on CD - only a much searched after LP by collectors released by Bandstand Records (BSR 7105)  seems to have reissued and presented some of the recordings by the orchestra since the original 78 rpm discs were in the market.

LP front: Sophisticated Swing of The Hudson-DeLange Orchestra (1936-1939)

Will Hudson
Will Hudson put together his first big band in the ‘30s in Detroit, but in 1935 he teamed with Eddie De Lange and formed the Hudson-DeLange Orchestra which made several recordings for the Brunswick label. He was active as an arranger for several of the top bandleaders of the day such as Cab Calloway and McKinney’s Cotton Pickers. He also wrote for Fletcher Henderson, who recorded his Hocus Pocus in 1934, and Jimmie Lunceford, who took Hudson’s instrumental, Organ Grinder’s Swing to number two on the charts in 1936. Hudson’s Sophisticated Swing with lyrics by Mitchell Parrish was recorded by several bands in 1938, including Woody Herman’s. The songwriting duo of Hudson and DeLange has one of the finest standards to its credit, Moonglow, written in 1934. It was published by Irving Mills who is also credited, as many publishers were then, with contributing to its origin. (info excerpted from this source)

Eddie DeLange
Eddie De Lange came from a musical family, but he began his career as a stunt man in Hollywood movies. When he returned to New York City in 1932 he worked as a lyricist for the music publishing company of Irving Mills and collaborated on The Man with the Horn (with Jack Jenney, 1932); Haunting Me (with Joseph Myrow, 1934); and two enduring standards, Moonglow (with Will Hudson and Irving Mills, 1934) and Solitude (with Duke Ellington, 1935). From 1935 to 1938 he and Will Hudson led one of the early swing bands and recorded for the Brunswick label. The band was extremely popular and played hundreds of engagements in the best venues around USA. (info excerpted from this souurce)

The Hudson-DeLange Orchestra
With the Hudson-DeLange Orchestra, much of the time DeLange led the band and Hudson stayed behind the scenes. The group appeared principally in eastern colleges, ballrooms, and hotels; it is reported on DeLange's official website that from 1936-38 they played over 200 ballroom dates throughout New England and the Midwest, as well as the Terrace Room of the New Yorker Hotel.  Among the sidemen in the band were, at various times, Steve Lipkins (trumpet), Gus Bivona (clarinet and alto saxophone), Bus Etri (guitar), Doc Goldberg (bass), and Billy Exner (drums). But in early 1938, Hudson and DeLange decided to go their separate ways. Hudson continued on the road with a group under his own name. Eddie DeLange formed and led his own orchestra on several tours, a chance meeting with composer, Jimmy Van Heusen, resulted in a highly productive partnership which a.o. produced Deep In A Dream (1938). They had their biggest hit with Darn That Dream (1939). (info excerpted from this source)

Between 1935 and 1938, the Hudson-DeLange Orchestra, even with its extensive tour schedules, recorded more than 50 songs for Brunswick Records, many of them original compositions. Below I'll insert some examples which have been uploaded at YouTube, Here is first The Hudson-DeLange Orchestra's version of Will Hudson's Organ Grinder's Swing recorded March 20, 1936

Next video features the band's version of Bugle Call Rag recorded March 10, 1937

This recording of Bugle Call Rag was among the first which caught my attention thanks to the guitar solo by Bus Etri, the legendary guitarist best known from recordings with Charlie Barnet's orchestra. Bus Etri's contribution to big band swing is much underrepresented, however, there are three more remarkable solos with the Hudson-DeLange Orchestra presented at the Bandstand LP mentioned above. Great solo work is featured in Stardust (also recorded March 10, 1937), On The Alamo (April 8, 1938) and Hangover In Hong Kong (June 10, 1938).
Swing guitar legend Bus Etri and unknown (b)
Will Hudson's composition Sophisticated Swing was recorded March 11, 1937 issued on 78rpm: Master 103 & Brunswick 7991

On December 20 1937 the Hudson-DeLange Orchestra recorded Definition of Swing issued on 78rpm: Brunswick 8071 

To end this small presentation of a great swing big band, here is Hudson-DeLange's version of the well known standard On The Alamo recorded April 8, 1938 and issued on Brunswick 8156


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