Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bill Finegan

From the New York Times obit:
Bill Finegan, who arranged hits for Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey and then formed a big band with Eddie Sauter, another legendary arranger, that was famed for skill, daring and very, very odd instruments, died on June 7 in Bridgeport, Conn. He was 91.
In forming the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, the two envisioned an innovative kind of music, defiant of convention but still inspired by musical traditions, especially classical ones.

Wit was implicit, and unexpected instruments were the most conspicuous novelty. These included the piccolo, flute, oboe, bass clarinet, harp, English horn, recorder, tuba, glockenspiel, tympani, kazoo and not one but two xylophones. In their arrangement of “Troika” from Prokofiev’s “Lieutenant Kije” suite, Mr. Finegan conveyed the dull pounding of distant horses’ hooves by beating out the rhythm on his chest.

At the band’s peak, 21 musicians played 77 instruments, not counting Mr. Finegan’s chest.
Provides an excuse to post an album cover designed by Jim Flora. I've always thought the S-F studio recordings amusing but too machine-like to swing much.

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