by Ann Jillian

In 1984 Richard Grudens first interviewed me while I was performing with Bob Hope at Westbury Music Fair on Long Island.   Richard's been a friend and supporter ever since, always fair, always reporting an honest account of my career activities to his readers throughout the years.

This new chronicle Richard has written about some of our musical heroes is the fourth in a series and profiles bandleaders, musicians, arrangers, singers and other participants of what's been identified as America's Golden Age of Music, the period beginning with the roaring 1920's,  right though the war years and beyond, an unbroken line through the frenetic rock and roll period, with enough of it's greatness continuing today. Performers like me have benefited greatly from these early innovators of music.

In Jukebox you will read about the musically productive life and career of the great bandleaders Artie Shaw, Les Brown, and Red Norvo, through personal interviews which are totally readable with interviewing techniques that allow his subjects to be extremely forthcoming.

Remembrances of the early dance bands of Paul Whiteman, Casa Loma, Leo Reisman, Jean Goldkette, Vincent Lopez, Ted Lewis, and Coon-Sanders are featured, as well as stories of the celebrated ballrooms where people like you,  and perhaps your your parents, danced happily to the music they loved.

The Meadowbrook, the Glen Island Casino, the Graystone, the Sunnybrook, the Cocoanut Grove, the Palomar, and Tunetown, among others, are profiled here for your fond recollection or first introduction.

Richard talks with some of the surviving, unsung songwriters of the age:    Ervin Drake, who wrote It Was A Very Good Year and I Believe;  Jack Lawrence, who wrote Linda and Tenderly;   George David Weiss who wrote Mr. Wonderful and What A Wonderful World; all  great songs that made the bands and their vocalists so popular during that august melodic period.

Last, but not least, he also presents to you the renowned broadcasters, the radio disc jockies who brought the music into your home or car,  and yesterday's and today's European bandleading counterparts of yesterday's and today's American Big Bands.

You can always be certain that the facts as presented in this book are completely accurate, for  Richard Grudens specializes in, what Big Band vocalist Connie Haines calls " the truth as we all lived it,"accuracy, always checking with his subjects or their associates or survivors before placing their life's work into public print.

As a veteran actor, singer and entertainer who has been there, working Broadway, Las Vegas, Tahoe, Atlantic City, many places on Bob Hope's USO tours, singing the songs that were popular in this era, and on lots and lots of television, I recommend this chronicle to you as an enjoyable flashback into a time considered by so many as musically unique.

Jukebox Saturday Night is a pleasing trip down memory lane. Sit back, enjoy an hour or two,  and re-live those wonderful, musical days of our lives.

Ann Jillian,

Sherman Oaks, California

March  1999


As a final companion to The Best Damn Trumpet Player 1996, The Song Stars 1997, and The Music Men 1998, Jukebox Saturday Night profiles the great musicians at their best musical moments during the Big Band Era and Beyond. It begins with author Richard Grudens' up close and personal silhouettes with music greats Artie Shaw, Les Brown, and Red Norvo which highlight the book. Included are tributes to Stan Kenton, through they eyes of Audree Kenton; Harry James with Joe Pardee; The Dorsey Brothers with Bob Melvin, Glenn Miller with Larry O'Briden, Duke Ellington with Ruth Ellington and Michael James, and Ben Grisafi's current veteran Big Alumni Band in New York.

The Anatomy of a Big Band radio station with the Broadcasters; and the Songwriters: Ervin Drake, Jack Lawrence, and George David Weiss. Chapters cover the early dance bands of Paul Whiteman, Leo Reisman, Fred Waring, Casa Loma, Coon-Sanders Nighthawks, Fletcher Henderson, Vincent Lopez, Wayne King, and covers vignettes about the Ballrooms and Pavilions where the bands performed the music of America's Golden Age.

Max Wirz of Swiss radio recalls the big bands of Europe, from Syd Lawrence and Ted Heath, right up to today's exciting Thilo Wolf and Andy Prior. A Special Section covers vocalists Beryl David & Carmel Quinn, the Wizard of the guitar Les Paul, and magical radio journalist Sally Bennett. The book concludes with Honorable Mentions of bands and vocalists you may or may not know.

Richard Grudens again provides a special insight into the live of the performers who lived within the Jukebox of our lives in Jukebox Saturday Night with over 60 exceptional photos provided by most of the books subjects themselves.

Phone: 631-862-8555

P.O. Box 344 - Stony Brook - NY - 11790

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