O legendário bandleader de jazz Ray Anthony, nasceu no 20 de janeiro de 1922, em Cleveland ,Ohio e começou a sua carreira musical na tenra idade na banda da familia chamada Antonini Family Orchestra.
Quando cursava o ensino médio tocou em bandas locais e mais tarde, estreiou profissionalmente com Al Donahue em 1940. Depois de passar um pequeno periodo com Donahue, Ray foi contratado pela banda de Glenn Miller mas so permaneceu seis meses por incompatibilidades com o famoso lider da orquestra.
Em seguida, tocou na banda de Jimmy Dorsey e então formou a sua propria banda que tinha uma linha de instrumentos bem particular: um trompete, uma corneta francesa , cinco saxes, e três sessões rítmicas.
Um dos problemas de Ray era seu estilo de tocar e arranjos que denotavam um cunho comercial muito forte, relegando à segundo plano os fãs de jazz. Felizmente, algumas de suas gravações no final dos anos 50, revelaram o lado "swingante" de Ray. Um de seus maiores sucessos foi "Dragnet" gravado em 1953. Ainda que a maior parte das gravações de Ray foi considerada comercial ( ou "cafona" como colocou a revista Down Beat nos anos 40), ele registrou publicou albuuns com alto teor de swing. Tão diferente de seu trabalho costumeiro que para o ouvinte, nem parece que é o mesmo músico, a mesma banda.
Nos anos 80, Ray voltou a fazer turnês com big band e formou também a "Big Band 80" voltada para apresentações em escolas, radios e clubes. Até os dias atuais, Ray continua se dedicando a sua grande vocação musical, e é permanece indubitavelmente, o grande embaixador do ritmo das big bands. Por seis décadas, ele tem mantido acesa a chama da Era Dourada do Jazz e da musica popular americana.
Ray plays "The Fox"
Legendary bandleader Ray Anthony, was born on January 20th,1922 in Cleveland ,Ohio and began his musical career at age five, playing in his family's group, the Antonini Family Orchestra. During his highschool years he wiorked with local bands and later made his professional debut with Al Donahue in 1940.
After only a short time with Donahue, Anthony was hired by Glenn Miller but left after six months, unable to get along with the famous orchestra leader. He then played briefly with Jimmy Dorsey before forming his own group, which featured unique instrumentation -- one trumpet, one French horn, five saxes, and three rhythm.
In 1942 he entering the Navy, where he led a service group in the Pacific. Upon being discharged in 1946 he formed a new orchestra, signing with Capitol Records. When Ralph Flanagan began the parade of Glenn Miller imitation bands Anthony fell in line and, like other imitators, made good money. During the 1950s he had a string of hits, including “Peter Gunn,” “The Bunny Hop,” “Harbor Lights,” and a jazzed-up version of the Dragnet theme song. He also appeared in several movies during that decade, such as This Could Be the Night and the Fred Astaire vehicle Daddy Long Legs.
Ray Anthony’s Harry James style trumpet and arrangements were mainly aimed at a more commercial oriented crowd rather than jazz fans. However a few of his late 50’s releases show the swinging side of Ray Anthony. Several noted here contain recordings far removed from his usual commercial fare.
One of his biggest “hits” was the theme to “Dragnet” which he recorded in 1953. Although much of Anthony’s output is considered commercial (or as Down Beat magazine in the 40’s would have called it “corn”) he has cut several records that swing heartily. These recordings sound so dissimilar from his usual output it is hard to believe it could be the same musician.
Two releases in particular stand out; the first a great LP from the 1950’s called “Anthony Plays Allen.” This finds Anthony’s trumpet flanked by the likes of Conte Candoli, Plas Johnson, Conrad Gozzo, Skeets Herfurt, and Alvin Stoller among others. To a lesser degree but still enjoyable is the release “Swings The Thing.” Fortunately both at this writing are available on a single CD. A great side from his early Capitol days is “Skycoach” recorded in 1950. This recording flows smoothly and features both Mel Lewis and Ray Brown, two jazz heavyweights.
His biggest hit came in 1954, when, after bugging Jack Webb for months to get him to release the recording rights, he recorded a cover of the theme to Webb's cop show, Dragnet. He also earned a Top 10 hit with a dance tune that sparked a craze even shorter-lived than the Macarena: The Bunny Hop. Anthony's rockin' cover of “Peter Gunn” was the probably the best-selling single recording of that tune.
Anthony eventually broke up his big band and settled down to work in Vegas and elsewhere with smaller combos. He continues to run his own label, Aerospace, which reissues his recordings as well as those of Glenn Miller and Billy May.
During the 1980s Anthony began touring with a big band again. He also formed Big Bands 80s, an organization dedicated to providing big band music to schools, radio stations and other venues.
Ray Anthony remains, to this day, dedicated to his calling and has been one of Big Band music's most dedicated ambassadors. For sixty years he has helped keep alive the sounds of America's golden age of jazz and pop music.
Marilyn Monroe at the Ray Anthony Party. Ray and his Orchestra play "Pardon Me Boy"
Tradução de Humberto Amorim