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About Jack Jenney

Jack Jenney was one of the top trombonists of the swing era but, because his big band did not last long and he died when he was only 35, he is largely forgotten today. Jenney, the son of a music teacher, learned both trumpet and trombone, starting when he was eight. He played gigs with his father's band when he was 11. Jenney's first professional job was with Austin Wylie in 1928 and he also had stints with Isham Jones (recording with the latter) and Mal Hallett (1933). A brilliant technician with a warm sound, Jenney was in great demand for studio work in New York, working with Victor Young, Fred Rich, radio staff orchestras and appearing on recordings with ensembles led by Red Norvo, Glenn Miller (1935), Dick McDonough, and the trombonist's wife singer Kay Thompson (1937). After leading his own studio band in 1938, Jenney put together a big band of his own in 1939 but it failed to catch on despite his outstanding recording of "Stardust" (which really showed off his impressive technique). The trombonist was with Artie Shaw off and on during 1940-1942 (recording a brief but memorable solo on Shaw's classic version of "Stardust"), returned to the studios, was with Benny Goodman for a short period in 1942 (appearing in the film Stage Door Canteen), he was featured in the film Syncopation (in its concluding jam session) and then led an undocumented big band in California. After a few months in the Navy during 1943-44, Jenney worked in the West Coast studios. His premature death was due to complications following an appendectomy. In addition to his sidemen sessions, Jack Jenney led five recording dates of his own including four with his 1939-1940 big band (all of which have been reissued on a Hep CD). He deserved much more recognition than he ultimately received. ~ Scott Yanow

Mason City, IA
12 May 1910

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