Happy Birthday, Sy Oliver

Today would have been the 114th birthday of Sy Oliver. Oliver is a very important figure, and a pioneer. This is from Wikipedia:

In 1933, Oliver joined Jimmie Lunceford’s band, contributing many hit arrangements for the band, including “My Blue Heaven” and “Ain’t She Sweet”. In 1939, he became one of the first African Americans with a prominent role in a white band when he joined Tommy Dorsey as an arranger, though he ceased playing trumpet at that time. (Fletcher Henderson joined the Benny Goodman orchestra as the arranger in the same year.) He led the transition of the Dorsey band from Dixieland to modern big band. His joining was instrumental in Buddy Rich’s decision to join Dorsey. His arrangement of “On the Sunny Side of the Street” was a big hit for Dorsey, as were his own compositions “Yes, Indeed!” (a gospel-jazz tune that was later recorded by Ray Charles), “Opus One”, “The Minor is Muggin'”, “T.D.’s Boogie Woogie” and “Well, Git It”.

He certainly deserves to be remembered.

Above is Opus No. 1. It was made famous by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, which had a hit with it in 1944. Oliver wrote the music and Sid Garris the lyrics.

This nice version was performed by Big Band Konzervatoře Plzeň, which is from Dubna, Russia.

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