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When The Benson Orchestra Ruled Chicago

"The orchestra was established in 1920 by Edgar A. Benson, a cellist who had become an impresario responsible for managing many bands in Chicago," according to Wikipedia.

"The band soon became one of the most popular dance bands of the early 1920s, and had its base at the Marigold Gardens, which had some notoriety as a gangster hang-out."


"Our CD of the Benson Orchestra of Chicago's initial 26 releases is the first serious attempt at chronicling this important dance band's contribution to the sound of 1920s American ballrooms," Archeophone Records says. "With pianist and arranger Roy Bargy leading a crack stable of sidemen, the Bensons were one of the top recording dance outfits of the early '20s, and they will still make you want to dance today."


My Little Bimbo, 1920.


The Avant-Garde Benson Orchestra.


"A complete collection of recordings by the Benson Orchestra would require an added wing of a house just to store it. The group launched the career of many a jazz great, boasting lovely melodic soloists such as saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer, and rhythmically propelled by the up and coming drummer Gene Krupa," according to iHeart Radio.

"The ensemble under his direction began recording in the fall of 1920 at the New Jersey Camden studio. 'Na Jo,' also known as 'No Ja,' is a tune from a session the following year which has been lauded for containing the invention of 'stop time' playing: for sure, the song's title stops proof-readers dead in their tracks, no matter which way the vowels are lined up. The orchestra's record sales were no joke, on the other hand. Its version of 'Wabash Cannonball' moved 750,000 units in 1921."


Na Jo.


Wabash Blues.


Comments welcome.


Posted on April 22, 2014

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