Buddy Hughes, former big band jazz vocalist most notably with the orchestras of Jimmy Dorsey, Gene Krupa and Claude Thornhill has passed away at the age of 91 years (recently announced publicly on September 9th) on August 23, 2010 at his home in Glen Ellyn, Illinois of cancer...(images in order of appearance: Buddy Hughes on left singing with Gene Krupa's band at the Capitol Theater in New York City; Buddy Hughes and Fran Warren vocalists being featured with Claude Thornhill's Orchestra; Vocalists Buddy Hughes and Delores Hawkins with the Gene Krupa Band) Starting on radio (station WNT-Waterloo, IA) Buddy sang with Les Hartman’s band along with female vocalist Fran Allison (later of "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" TV show fame)...then in 1938 he toured as a vocalist with the Minnesota-based Bennett Greten Orchestra...right after the war he went to New York and joined the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra for about a six month stint (no recordings of Buddy except for radio air-checks which have never been located)...after one of the perfomances there in New York, Buddy received a compliment from one of the people hearing the band, namely, Frank Sinatra, who put a hand on Buddy's knee and said, "Nice singin' Kid"...in the post-war era he acquired more accolades regarding his singing talent which included being labeled the "number one band singer" in December of 1947 by Metronome Magazine and in 1946 Downbeat Magazine declared his singing as "the freshest voice to be heard with a band". Another publication, The Billboard “The World’s Foremost Amusement Weekly” (in it's feature “On The Stand”, Oct 5, 1946 Vol.58, No.40, page 16) from a review of Claude Thornhill’s Orchestra performance at the Café Rouge, Hotel Pennsylvania, New York on September 24th, 1946 stated: “...Thornhill has a singer who blends nicely with the arranger’s ideas. Hughes, who sings with excellent feeling and fine phrasing, has a genial delivery and a good enough appearance on the stand to believe that he may soon become a new threat for bobby-sox idolatry...”. Buddy Hughes was also marketed by Columbia Records as “a refined Johnny Mercer”. The tunes Buddy Hughes recorded for Columbia (with the Gene Krupa band in 1947) were: “I’ll Never Make The Same Mistake Again”, “Fun and Fancy Free”, “Please Don’t Play Number Six Tonight,” and “It’s Whatcha Do With Whatcha Got”. The personnel for Gene Krupa's Orchestra at this time included: Gene Krupa-(drums), Don Fagerquist, Gordon Boswell, Buddy Colaneri, Ed Shedowski-(trumpet), Urbie Green, Bob Fitzpatrick, Emil Manazec, Jack Zimmerman-(trombone), Larry Hambro, Charlie Kennedy-(alto sax), Buddy Wise, Mitch Melnick-(tenor sax), Bob Morton-(baritone sax), Bob Lesher-(guitar), Teddy Napoleon-(piano), Pete Ruggerio-(bass), Delores Hawkins, Buddy Hughes-(vocals), Eddie Finckle, George Williams-(arrangers).
Buddy Hughes also recorded on Columbia and RCA Victor with Claude Thornhill's post-war band. Many of the band's songs at that time featured vocals by Fran Warren (her big hit with Thornhill was "Sunday Kind Of Love"), but Buddy was also featured with the band on the recordings "Did I Have To Fall In Love With You?" and "Far Away Island" as well as "Under The Willow Tree", "Wind In My Sails", and an unreleased New York studio recording (RCA Master D9VB0033 04JAN1949) of "If I Forget You" (NOTE: male singer Art Brown's version is on the issued master which was recorded on 06JAN1949; also there is some controversy that Chris Connor, a member of The Snowflakes vocal group featured with the band, may have been on these early January recording seesions too but that has not been confirmed. Thornhill is often credited as the progenitor of cool jazz. The personnel for The Claude Thornhill Orchestra at this time included: Claude Thornhill (concertina, piano), Danny Polo, Jerry Therkeld (clarinet, alto sax), Drew Moore, Mario Rollo (tenor sax), Bill Bushey (baritone sax), John Carisi, John Napton, Gene Roland (trumpet), Leon Cox, Allan Langstaff (trombone), Addison Collins, Arthur Sussman (frenchhorn), Barry Galbraith (guitar), Joe Shulman (bass), William Exiner (drums), The Snowflakes which included Chris Connor, Buddy Hughes (vocals). After having lost a job opportunity to sing with The Benny Goodman Orchestra (due to Goodman wanting a vocalist that could also double on an instrument), Buddy took up learning how to play the acoustic bass to stay in the jazz arena, as big band popularity diminished with the public in the post-war years (refer to Rick Busciglio's Examiner.com article on his take as to what ended the big band era: http://www.examiner.com/swing-and-big-band-in-national/did-frank-sinatra-end-the-big-band-era). In later life Hughes performed occasionally with other Chicago-area jazz notables Bert Rose, Joe Vito, and Johnny Frigo. Mr. Hughes, a World War II veteran, served in Algiers, Africa with the U.S. Army's 102nd Cavalry.
There are some really great articles on Buddy Hughes at the following links from Bob Knack's "The Great Escape Newsletter" featured on his DixieSwing.com website:
-Includes a pic of Buddy Hughes circa 2007 - http://www.dixieswing.com/vol5.pdf
-Great Overview of Buddy's Singing career - http://web.me.com/mikebaker/page5/files/greatescape19.pdf
Sepetember 25, 2010
10AM to 1PM
Wheaton Wesleyan Church
1300 S. President St.
--On-Line Memorial and Guestbook is available here:
--Chicago Tribune Obit:
--Chicago Sun Tmes Obit:
--Some Samples of Buddy Hughes Recordings With Gene Krupa's Orchestra:
Video of Jimmy Dorsey's Orchestra from 1942 featuring Bob Eberly & Helen O'Connell:
Video of Claude Thornhill's Orchestra from around 1945:
Video of Gene Krupa's Orchestra from 1946 featuring vocalist Carolyn Grey:
(sources: ChicagoTribune.com, SunTimes.com, DixieSwing.com, Legacy.com, Amazon.com, JazzDiscography.com, Books.Google.com,YouTube.com)