In big band history, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra is recognized as one of the best all-around dance bands. Jazz trombonist Tommy Dorsey led his band to 17 number one hits in the 1930s and 1940s, and a young Frank Sinatra cut his teeth singing with this legendary band. Now, under the baton of clarinetist Terry Myers, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra brings that classic, sentimental big band sound to the Benaroya Hall stage.
"Terry Myers is undoubtedly one of the best all-around reed players in the country today." So said Buddy Morrow, former leader of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and one of the great musicians and band leaders who was there for the early stages of the "Big Band Era." An Iowa native, Terry was a member of the US Marine Corps Reserves for five years. After college, where he majored in music and education, Terry honed his musical talent and soon developed a successful career in Nashville and New York City. When Terry decided to move to Florida, he quickly became one of the most in-demand musicians in the state. He was a band leader at Disney World's Epcot Center for four years and, for a time, led the band at Rosie O'Grady's, which was part of the popular Church Street Station entertainment complex in downtown Orlando. Now featured with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Terry is an exceedingly charming host who puts the audience at ease and then wows them with his and the TDO's musical presentation.
In big band history, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra is recognized as one of the best all-around dance bands. It could swing with the best of them, and no other band could come close to Tommy's when it came to playing ballads. Tommy Dorsey, "The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing", was a master at creating warm, sentimental and always musical moods — at superb dancing and listening tempos. Tommy sustained these moods through the arrangements of the likes of Paul Weston, Axel Stordahl and Sy Oliver, and he showcased singers who could project them brilliantly. By late 1946, eight top bandleaders announced they were calling it quits — Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Les Brown, Jack Teagarden, Benny Carter, Ina Ray Hutton and Tommy Dorsey. Essentially, this was the official end of the Big Band Era. However, it was Tommy Dorsey who fought the case of the big bands with words and action. Less than two years later, he was fronting a formidable new group. Tommy said at the time: "You can't expect to have any real interest in dance bands if the bands don't go around the country and play for the kids." And so it continues. The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra is traveling throughout the country playing "for the kids" (of all ages).