“Swingin’ and Jumpin'” Bunny Berigan (1939) / Horace Henderson (1940)

“Swingin’ and Jumpin'”

Composed and arranged by Horace Henderson.

Recorded live in performance by Bunny Berigan and His Orchestra from Manhattan Center in New York City on September 29, 1939.

Bunny Berigan, trumpet, directing: Jake Koven, first trumpet; Truman Quigley, Carl Warwick, trumpets; Mark Pasco, Al Jennings, trombones; Charlie DiMaggio, first alto saxophone; Joe DiMaggio, alto saxophone and clarinet; Larry Walsh and Stuart Anderson, tenor saxophones; Buddy Koss, piano; Tommy Moore, guitar; Morty Stulmaker, bass; Paul Collins, drums.

The story:

In the late summer of 1939, after a series of financial reversals, Bunny Berigan became ensnared in a tangled business situation involving MCA, his booking agent, Arthur Michaud, his former personal agent, another personal agent, John Gluskin, and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), the union he and all of the musicians in his band were members of. The net result was that Bunny almost lost the band he had so carefully built over the previous two and a half years. (Among those who left at the end of a successful week at Manhattan’s Loew’s State Theater in late August were: saxophonists Don Lodice, Gus Bivona; pianist Joe Bushkin, and lead trumpeter Johnny Napton.) He was forced to file a bankruptcy petition then that seemingly did not alleviate his financial problems,(1) and made several business decisions that left him utterly without money. His method of dealing with these setbacks was to leave it to others, primarily MCA, to attempt to work out a financial solution, while he continued touring, with a largely reorganized band. He had no real personal manager through this crisis. He had asked his father to assist him with the business side of his band’s operation, but his father had neither the experience nor the aptitude to deal with these issues productively. (At right: Bunny Berigan in 1939. His focus was music, not business.)

After a six week engagement at Hotel Sherman in Chicago in July and early August, and then the stay at the Loew’s-State Theater, Berigan hired a number of new musicians, and began a weeks-long string of one-night stands in September of 1939. He returned to New York for a short time at the end of that month, appearing at Manhattan Center on September 29, from where a radio broadcast of the band was scheduled. That engagement held a pleasant surprise for Bunny. Paul Collins, who was the drummer in the Berigan band then, recalled: “That broadcast was Martin Block’s Swing Session program and Glen Gray’s Casa Loma orchestra played opposite us. They played ‘I Can’t Get Started’ as a tribute to Bunny, using his famous arrangement and featuring Murray McEachern on trombone. He played it extremely well, except for very last high note on the coda, when he stopped playing, turned and bowed towards Bunny.”(2) Berigan, who was not a man given to demonstrations of emotion, on this occasion was moved to tears.

The music:

“Swingin’ and Jumpin” was composed and arranged by Horace Henderson, who would record it for Vocalion on May 8, 1940. His riff based arrangement is swung by Berigan’s musicians. The first soloist is Carl “Bama” Warwick on trumpet. (Although this is only one of two instances where another trumpeter solos plays on a Berigan recording, on dance jobs Bunny very often let his trumpeters play solos. While the trumpeters appreciated the solo opportunities, after Berigan played, they usually felt like baseball players who had been asked to hit fungoes with Babe Ruth.) Warwick plays quite well here, making the most of 3/4 of a chorus. The eight bar bridge features the fluid saxophones and then the trombones with a sly allusion to “In the Mood,”(3) by then rising rapidly as a hit record for Glenn Miller.

Warwick hands off to Berigan, whose huge, warm sound and mighty swing nevertheless provide a rather large contrast. Bunny swaggers through an entire chorus of inspired jazz.

The next chorus spots tenor saxophonist Larry Walsh, who plays sixteen bouncing bars, then clarinetist Joe DiMaggio (brother of stalwart big band saxophonist Charlie DiMaggio, who plays lead alto on this recording), who makes a good, bright-toned  jazz statement on the eight bar bridge. Walsh returns to finish the chorus. (Above left: trumpeter Carl Warwick in 1955 with Quincy Jones.) 

The final chorus has the band riffing away, with clarinetist Joe DiMaggio returning briefly to take a few more swings.

Despite all of Bunny’s problems, the revamped Berigan band he presented on this radio broadcast is loose and swinging, and his own playing is magnificent.

Bunny Berigan and his band on the stage of the Apollo Theater in Harlem – December 15-21, 1939: Front L-R: Buddy Koss, Tommy Moore, Larry Walsh, Charlie DiMaggio, Joe DiMaggio, Stu Anderson; back: Morty Stulmaker, Paul Collins, Carl Warwick, John Fallstich, Joe Aguanno, Al Jennings, Mark Pasco. Bunny is in front.

“Swingin’ and Jumpin'”

Composed and arranged by Horace Henderson.

Recorded by Horace Henderson and His Orchestra for Okeh in Chicago on May 8, 1940.

Horace Henderson, piano, directing: Harry “Pee Wee” Jackson, Emmett Berry, and Ray Nance, trumpets; Edward Fant and Nat Atkins, trombones; Willie Randall, first alto saxophone; Dalbert Bright, alto saxophone; Elmer “Tone” Williams and Dave Young, tenor saxophones; Hurley Ramey, guitar; Jesse “Po” Simpkins, bass; Oliver Coleman, drums.

The story:

The story of Horace Henderson (1904-1988) is not well-known largely because during the swing era, his career as a pianist/arranger/bandleader was overshadowed by that of his older brother, Fletcher Henderson. Although Fletcher Henderson had a successful career as a bandleader in the late 1920s and early 1930s, that success actually did not bring him either great fame or fortune. What brought him fame was his association with Benny Goodman, starting in early 1935, as an arranger whose work was used extensively by Goodman on recordings, and especially on radio. Despite being very talented as an arranger, Horace Henderson never had the wide public exposure for his work that Fletcher had. Nevertheless, Horace’s work was occasionally also presented by Benny Goodman. His composition/arrangement “Big John Special” was a staple in the Goodman book of arrangements in the late 1930s.(4) (Above left: Horace Henderson writes an arrangement – 1940.)

Here is a summary of Horace Henderson’s life and career. It is derived from the obituary for him that appeared in the New York Times on September 16, 1988: Horace Henderson, a pianist, arranger and composer who often collaborated with his brother, Fletcher, died after a short illness on Aug. 29, at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Denver. He was 83 years old and lived in Denver.

Horace Henderson’s arrangements, some of which had an impact on popular music, were featured by Benny Goodman, Earl Hines, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmie Lunceford, Erskine Hawkins, Bunny Berigan, Charlie Barnet, Count Basie, Gene Krupa and other bandleaders in the 1930’s.

Mr. Henderson’s wife, Angell, said other of his arrangements used by Goodman included: ”Japanese Sandman” and ”Walk, Jennie, Walk,” a showcase for the drummer Gene Krupa. Other Horace Henderson arrangements played by Goodman were ”Three Little Words,” ”Dear Old Southland,” ”Chicago” and ”Take My Word,” based on Benny Carter’s composition ”Lonesome Nights.” He also collaborated with his brother on such arrangements as “Christopher Columbus”(5) and ”I Found a New Baby.” His composition/arrangement of “Charleston Alley” was a hit for Charlie Barnet in 1941.(6)

Mr. Henderson is survived by his wife, a daughter from a previous marriage and three grandchildren.(7)

The music:

The personnel of Horace Henderson’s band in 1940 revealed the names of a number of musicians who moved in the late 1930s between the Chicago-based Earl Hines band and/or his brother Fletcher’s band, when it worked in Chicago then. Among them were: trumpeters Emmett Berry, Harry “Pee Wee” Jackson and Ray Nance; trombonist Ed Fant; saxophonists Willie Randall and Elmer Williams; guitarist Hurley Ramey; and drummer Oliver Coleman. These musicians were comfortable playing together and they achieve a light swing under Horace Henderson’s leadership that I’m sure pleased dancers. Unfortunately, this band, which seems to have been based in Chicago for most of its short life (basically through 1940), failed to find an audience. By the end of 1940, it was history. After Henderson’s band folded, he led Nat Towles’s band for a short time, then entered military service. (Above right – Horace Henderson in 1940.)

However, Henderson did have a contract with Columbia Records then, and made five recording sessions that yielded 21 sides. They were issued by Columbia on either their Vocalion or Okeh labels. These recordings as a group reveal a good band playing music mostly composed and/or arranged by Horace Henderson that is certainly worth listening to.

On Henderson’s recording of “Swingin’ and Jumpin’, intriguing music happens right from this tune’s introduction. It would appear that the first trumpet part in this performance was played by Harry “Pee Wee” Jackson. His sound is bright and well-recorded. But I think that Horace also had one of his two jazz trumpet soloists, Emmett Berry, pop in with a couple of bright bursts of sound, along with the veteran tenor saxophonist Elmer “Tone” Williams, in the introduction.

The first chorus allows the minimalist riffing melody to be stated, in antiphonal fashion, brass against reeds.

A rhythmically intense interlude brings trumpet soloist Emmett Berry forward. His first sixteen bars reveal that he had a big, warm trumpet sound, good jazz ideas, and he did swing. The saxophone quartet takes the bridge, along with a scattering of notes by trombonist Ed Fant. Berry returns to finish the chorus in particularly graceful style. (Above left: trumpeter Emmett Berry.)

The interlude between the second and third choruses consists of a brief, well-integrated series of instrumental busts which opens the way for Horace Henderson’s piano solo. He was clearly a very good pianist whose jazz stylings reveal that he admired and took inspiration from Earl Hines, whose influence on jazz pianists in the 1930s was great. I think that the trumpet solo on the bridge was played by Ray Nance, who in six months would debut spectacularly with Dike Ellington’s band playing what are now justly regarded as two iconic trumpet solos on Billy’ Strayhorn’s wonderful composition “Take the ‘A’ Train,” which became so popular that Duke used it as his theme song.

The final chorus has the band riffing again, brass against reeds, but now there is a baritone saxophone in the mix, played I suspect by Dave Young, who has an eight-bar solo on the bridge.

The recordings presented with this post were digitally remastered by Mike Zirpolo.

Notes and links:

(1) In my research, I unearthed a blurb in Down Beat from 1939 that stated the the American Federation of Musicians were taking the legal position at that time (which now, more than eight decades later, seems quite outlandish), that whatever claims they had against their members, those claims would not be affected by the bankruptcy laws of the United States. By the time the Federal courts sorted this out in 1940, Bunny Berigan had given up his band and was working for Tommy Dorsey so that he could pay off the debts he had hoped would have been discharged in bankruptcy, which he did. It was ultimately decided that the Union’s claims were subject to U.S. bankruptcy law. That decision was too late for Bunny Berigan to benefit from it.

(2) Cited in the Bozy White bio-discography of Bunny Berigan at date of September 29, 1939.

(3) Horace Henderson had composed the the riff that was the basis for “In the Mood” in 1931, and called it “Hot and Anxious.” His brother Fletcher recorded it on March 19, 1931.

(4) Here is a link to Horace Henderson’s “Big John Special,” as performed by Benny Goodman and his band: https://swingandbeyond.com/2019/04/13/big-john-special-1937-benny-goodman-with-harry-james-and-gene-krupa-and-1938-benny-goodman-with-harry-james-and-dave-tough/

(5) Here is a link to the story and music of “Christopher Columbus”: https://swingandbeyond.com/2018/03/26/for-dancers-only-1937-jimmie-lunceford-sy-oliver-christopher-columbus-1936-fletcher-henderson/

(6) Among the other arrangements Horace Henderson wrote for Charlie Barnet are these: “Little John Ordinary,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Little Dip,” “Ponce de Leon,” “Plowin’,” “Song of the Volga Boatmen,” and “The Bar is Open.”

(7) The information regarding Horace Henderson’s career was derived from the obituary that appeared in the New York Times on September 16, 1988.

Here is a link that will take you to excellent in-depth oral history regarding the life and career of Horace Henderson, provided by Mr. Henderson himself:


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1 Comment

  1. Bunny’s take on “Swingin’ and Jumpin’,” which sure delivers on the title, brings to mind a piece I wrote some years ago on jazz and swing artists who died early: My focus was the speculation, in which we admirers all seem to indulge, as to the stylistic directions these instrumentalists might have taken, had they lived longer, in a pop music landscape that was rapidly evolving. I cited a number of my favourites, including Bix, Eddie Lang, Bus Etri, Dick McDonough, Jack Jenney and, of course, my favourite of all, Bunny. “Swingin’ and Jumpin'” seems to me a clear indication that Bunny, perhaps despite his obvious love of the old jazz warhorses, would have stayed in there swingin’, listening and adapting, while retaining the defining features of his unmistakable sound. Had he lived, say, through the 40s, I can’t see him taking a categorical anti-bop stance. He very well might have turned up at some of the Condon Town Hall concerts — as did, on the one hand, bandleaders with modern leanings, such as Krupa and Herman, and, on the other, moldy fig TD — but I just don’t think a guy with ears like his could have confined himself to that scene.

    Bunny, by all accounts a humble and generous bandleader, naturally gave solo space to the members of his trumpet section out on the road. He clearly remembered his early days, and how important it had been to him just to be awarded a chance to show what he could do. He wanted his men to succeed. In his “Swingin’ and Jumpin'” turn, Carl Warwick justifies his leader’s faith in him. … There is, however, no mistaking his sound and phrases for those of the soloist to follow: Bunny, still in possession of his magnificent tone and great power despite personal and professional adversity, sounds entirely confident, relaxed and contemporary. Too, it sounds as if he appreciates the material!

    While we may assume that, had he not encountered financial difficulties, Bunny would have continued to retain and nurture his one-time key sidemen — Bushkin, Auld, Dixon, Rich, Conniff — he displays here, as always, the talent for shaping a largely less experienced group of musicians into a cohesive, artistically stylish and, above all, swinging unit.

    As to composer Horace Henderson’s version, I have to say that I’m really tickled to find the spotlight shining here on this band, who were responsible for a number of sides that I find to be among the most stimulating studio performances of 1940. Swing, by then firmly established and not yet impacted by WWII or a rift between traditionalists and experimenters, was riding high. Present day swing aficionados are familiar with the glorious sides of that time from the orchestras of Goodman, Ellington, Basie, both Dorseys, Shaw, Miller, Herman and Barnet, but I wonder how many are aware of what the Henderson and, say, Harlan Leonard bands were up to. Both outfits produced some very urban and nighttimey instrumentals that are a welcome contrast to the ever increasing number of quite commercial vocal sides that the white bands were releasing in the same period. … I like a balance.

    I wish I could recall where I encountered it, but I remember a comment from Buck Clayton in which he indicated that he preferred little brother Horace’s charts to those of the more celebrated Fletcher. The underrated Emmett Berry, so prominent and marvelous on “Swingin’ and Jumpin’,” played in the orchestras of both brothers — I wonder who he considered to be the better arranger. I always name Fletcher as my second favourite, after Sy Oliver, but I have to say that Horace, seven years younger than Smack, was hipper (and certainly a finer pianist). On this side, one of Horace’s best, the band is powerful but lithe. It’s interesting, in fact, to compare this studio recording with Bunny’s slightly slower on-location take. Each is excellent, in its own way — first-rate swing!

    Finally, I just want to mention that “Tar Paper Stomp, recorded by and credited to Wingy Manone (“Barbecue Joe and His Hot Dogs”), is the first known use of the “In The Mood” riff.

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