24 October Phantom Dancer – Don Redman 1920s Swing Pioneer

Thank you to everyone who supported 2SER and The Phantom Dancer during this October’s Subscriber Drive.

I’m looking forward to presenting another year of Phantom Dancer shows for you. The Phantom Dancer is your non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV broadcasts.

In December, The Phantom Dancer will have been on air in various forms for 32 years.

Hear The Phantom Dancer live on 107.3 2SER Sydney every Tuesday after the midday news and online at radio 2ser.com

See today’s play list below. It includes a 1956 ‘Rock’n’Roll Party’ WCBS NYC aircheck from 1956 of the swinging Count Basie Orchestra, Joe Williams and Big Al Sears. There’s also a RARE Don Redman aircheck from the same radio station when it was known as WABC and from 1933.


My favourite 1930s singer and composer of witty songs, Don Redman talked-sung his way through many of his own compositions exceptional charisma.

Songs written by Don Redman include the jazz standard, Cherry, I Heard, Try Getting a Good Night’s Sleep,
Gee, Baby, Ain’t I Good to You and today’s Phantom Dancer rarity, Watching the Knife and Fork Spoon.

It’s a rarity because extant Don Redman radio broadcasts are rare. In fact, I heard they were long lost. But the 1933 Don Redman radio broadcast on today’s Phantom Dancer sound like it comes from a home recording with all the crackle, surface noice and static. But though all the noise, the classic Redman charm shines through.

Don Redman had musical parents. He started learning trumpet at 3, joined his first band at 6, and could play all wind instruments by 12. He polished his musical knowledge at a conservatory, then began work as a professional jazz musician in New York City in the early 1920s.

In 1923 he joined the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra playing reeds and arrangements. His arrangements contributed hugely to the development of what become Swing. In 1927 he was invited to join McKinney’s Cotton Pickers as their musical director and leader and made it a huge success.

Don Redman then formed his own band in 1931, signed to Brunswick Records and also did a series of those now rare radio broadcasts, part of one of which we’ll hear today.

You can hear Don Redman online in the Betty Boop cartoon ‘I Heard’ for which he wrote the music and this Vitaphone musical short which has been a Phantom Dancer Video of the Week.

In 1940 he turned to freelance arranging, writing hits for Jimmy Dorsey, Count Basie and Harry James.

Don Redman is was the great-uncle of saxophonist Joshua Redman.

Now as your Phantom Dancer Video of the Week, here is the much faster tempo commercial recording made by Don Redman in 1933 of his song, Watching the Knife and Fork Spoon. You can hear the live 1933 radio version on today’s Phantom Dancer. Enjoy!

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney, Live Stream, Digital Radio
Community Radio Network Show CRN #284

107.3 2SER Tuesday 24 October 2017
After the 2SER 12 noon news, 12:04 – 2:00pm (+11 hours GMT)
National Program:
ArtSoundFM Canberra Sunday 7 – 8pm
and early morning on 22 other stations.

Set 1
Dance Bands on 1941-45 Radio
Come Out Where Ever You Are
Harry James Music Makers (voc) Buddy DiVito
Casino Gardens
Ocean Park Ca
George Paxton Orchestra
’One Night Stand’
Cafe Rouge
Hotel Pennsylvania
New York City
AFRS re-broadcast
19 Jul 1945
War Dance For Wooden Indians + Pretty Little Petticoat (theme)
Raymond Scott Orchestra
Bermuda Room
Hotel Brunswick
WBZ NBC Boston
6 Dec 1941
Set 2
Club Hangover on 1954 Radio
Relaxing at the Touro (theme) + That Dada Strain
Muggsy Spanier
Club Hangover
KCBS San Francisco
27 Nov 1954
Stomp, Mr Henry Lee!
Jack Teagarden
Club Hangover
KCBS San Francisco
17 Apr 1954
One O’Clock Jump + Deep Forest (theme)
Earl Hines
Club Hangover
KCBS San Francisco
30 Jan 1954
Set 3
1956 Rock’n’Roll Radio
One O’Clock Jump (theme) + Perdido + Low Light + Beaver junction
Count Basie Orchestra
’Alan Freed Rock’n’Roll Dance Party’
2 Jun 1956
Give Me Someone To Love
Joe Williams
’Alan Freed Rock’n’Roll Dance Party’
2 Jun 1956
Right Now + Teeners’ Canteen
Big Al Sears
’Alan Freed Rock’n’Roll Dance Party’
2 Jun 1956
Set 4
Early Swing 1933-36 Radio
Theme + Watching The Knife and Fork Spoon
Don Redman Orchestra (voc) Don Redman
Casino de Paree
22 Dec 1933
I Got Rhythm
Benny Goodman Orchestra
’Let’s Dance’
5 May 1935
Honeysuckle Rose
Benny Goodman Orchestra
Joseph Urban Room
Congress Hotel
WMAQ NBC Red Chicago
3 Feb 1936
Set 5
1930s-1940s Australian Dance Bands
Fair and Warmer
Jim Davidson New Palais Dance Orchestra (voc) Austral Singers
Comm Rec
7 Sep 1934
Jungle Jive
George Trevare Orchestra (voc) Elsie Wardrope
Comm Rec
Hang Your Heart On A Hickory Limb
Jim Davidson ABC Dance Orchestra (voc) Alice Smith
Comm Rec
24 Jul 1939
Shoo Shoo Baby
George Trevare Orchestra (voc) Joan Blake
Comm Rec
Set 6
Women Singers with 1950s Big Bands
Theme + Dream A Little Dream Of Me
Claude Thornhill Orchestra (voc) Patty Ryan
’One Night Stand’
Steel Pier
Atlantic City NJ
AFRS Re-broadcast
19 Jun 1955
Till I Waltz Again With You
Harry James Orchestra (voc) April Ames
Hotel Astor Roof
WOR Mutual NY
25 May 1953
Too Young To Go Steady
Dorsey Brothers Orchestra (voc) Dolly Houston
Cafe Rouge
Hotel Pennsylvania
May 1956
Indian summer
Duke Ellington Orchestra (voc) Norma Oldham
Meadowbrook Ballroom
Cedar Grove NJ
6 Jun 1951
Set 7
Swing Era Toe-Tappers
Pretty Little Petticoat (theme) + Huckleberry Duck
Raymond Scott Orchestra
Radio Transcription
WMAQ NBC Chicago
I’m Looking For A Guy Who Plays Alto and Baritone Doubles on a Clarinet and Wears a Size 37 Suit
Ozzie Nelson Orchestra (voc) Rose Ann Stevens
Blackhawk Restaurant
WGN Mutual Chicago
30 Mar 1940
Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra (voc) Trio
’Spotlight Bands’
Jefferson Barracks, Missouri
Blue Network
23 Nov 1945
Solid Geometry For Squares
Joe Marsala Orchestra (harp) Adele Girard
Band Remote
Log Cabin
New York
23 Oct 1942
Set 8
Bop and Cool
Charlie Parker
9 May 1953
I Want a Little Girl
Charlie Shavers Quartet
London House
WBBM CBS Chicago
May 1962
I Remember Clifford
Oscar Pettiford Orchestra
Jun 1957
Koko + Anthropology (theme)
Barry Ulanov All Star Metronome Jazzmen
WOR Mutual NY
8 Nov 1947

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