Ben Pollack & His Orch. - Waitin' For Katie, 1927
Published at : 07 Dec 2020
Waiting For Katie, Fox Trot (Gus Kahn /Ted Shapiro) -- Ben Pollack & His Orchestra with Vocal Refrain, Victor 1927 (USA)
NOTE: Ben Pollack (b.1903 in Chicago -- d.1971) American drummer and bandleader from the mid 1920s through the swing era; discoverer of great musicians such as Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Glenn Miller, Jimmy McPartland and Harry James. This ability earned him the nicknames "Father of Swing" or "Hotbed of Talent".
Born to a well-to-do family, Pollack was self taught as a drummer. In early 1920s he became the drummer for the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, a top jazz outfit, in the early 1920s. In 1924 he played for several bands, including West Coast, which led to his forming a band there in 1925. It was the time, when having recognized as immensely talented one of the clarinet players, who aspired to join in the band, Pollack engaged the 16-year old Benny Goodman. In 1926, Pollack's band started recording for Victor. Many of his records were good sellers. From about 1928, besides regular recordings, Pollack's band with involvement with Irving Mills, also recorded a vast quantity of hot dance for dime store labels Banner, Perfect, Domino, Cameo, Lincoln, Romeo, appearing on their labels under the most phantasmatic nicknames, such as Mills' Musical Clowns, The Lumberjacks, Dixie Daises, The Whoopee Makers, The Hotsy Totsy Gang, Dixie Jazz Band, Jimmy Bracken's Toe Ticklers and many others. All that made Pollack's band one of the most prolific in the turn of the 1920s and 1930s. They played in Chicago, mainly, and moved to New York City playing for Broadway shows, and having an exclusive engagement at the Park Central Hotel. Very often, Ben Pollack fancied himself as more of a bandleader-singer instead of a drummer.
The Stock Market Crash of 1929 ended the good times for most of American dance bands, with no exception to Ben Pollack's. Work was scarce, and the band had several periods of inactivity. Benny Goodman and Jimmy McPartland left the band in the summer of 1929, either fired or quit, depending on whose story is to be believed. Pollack left Victor and from 1930 recorded for Hit of the Week, to return to Victor in 1933 (in later years he also recorded for Columbia, Brunswick, Vocalion and Decca). In the early 1930s Pollack made several trips around US Midwest and Canada, also becoming more and more involved with the singing career of his girl vocalist, Doris Robbins. His romance (and finally -- his marriage) led to his neglectance of the band matters. In 1933, trombone star Jack Teagarden gave his notice, a year later the rest of the musicians decided to leave. They re-formed soon after, as a co-operative band, fronted by Bing Crosby's brother, Bob. Ben Pollack also managed to re-form his orchestra, engaging some highly talented musicians (Harry James, Irving Fazola). However, still very high artistic level of the recordings never led the band back to its former popularity. Two stars -- James and Fazola -- left Ben Pollack, to look for greater success away from him. In 1942, Pollack became the leader of the touring band working behind comedy star Chico Marx, but the field of big-band music was already dominated by his former alumni, Miller, Goodman, and James. By the late '50s he had left music in favor of opening a club of his own in LA, and then a restaurant in Palm Springs, CA. On June 7th, 1971 Ben Pollack committed suicide by hanging himself in his Palm Springs home.