Geraldo and His OrchestraView In iTunes
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Gerald Walcan Bright was born in London, England on August 10 1904. A child prodigy, he received instruction at London's Royal Academy of Music and entered the work force playing piano and organ in movie theatres. At the age of 16 he ran away from home, boarded the HMS Cameronia and sailed to New York City and back as a member of the ship's dance orchestra. During the early 1920s Bright led a series of little bands, establishing himself at the helm of the St. Anne's-on-the-Sea Hotel Majestic Orchestra for five years beginning in 1925. By August 1930 Bright, after touring Latin America where he absorbed the sounds of the orquesta tipica, opted for a new sound based in a popular dance that was rapidly spreading from Argentina to Europe. He renamed himself and his ensemble the Geraldo Gaucho Tango Band and experienced great success with the public at the Savoy Hotel. Although within three years he had been crowned "Tango King of England", by the late ‘30s the tango motif had receded as Geraldo and his Sweet Music became established as one of England's most accessible dance orchestras. During the Second World War, Geraldo served as Supervisor of Bands for the Entertainment National Service Association as his sweet band serenaded British soldiery throughout Europe, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. Beginning in the late 1940s he managed a pit orchestra for a chain of theatres and oversaw dance bands that worked on Cunard Ocean Liners. During the 1950s he served as musical director for Scottish TV, where for more than three decades his composition "Scotlandia" was used as theme music. Over the course of several decades he employed trumpeters Ronnie Hughs, Leslie ‘Jiver' Hutchinson, Basil Jones, Alfie Noakes, Stan Reynolds, Flash Shields and Ron Simmonds. His trombonists included Tommy Cook, Jimmy ‘Topper' Coombes, Joe Cordell, Frank Dixon, Joe Ferrie, Ted Heath, Harry Roche and Eric Tann. Within Geraldo's reed section over the years were Bob Adams, Billy Amstel, Arthur Birkby, Geoff Cole, Bob Efford, George Evans, Jock Faulds, Phil Goody, Harry ‘Chipper' Hayes, Dougie Robinson, Wally Stott and Nat Temple. At the piano sat either Gerald's twin brother Sydney ‘Sid' Bright or Ralph Dallimore, who wrote arrangements for the band as did Birkby, Evans, Stott and Angela Morley. Geraldo's guitarists were Ivor Mairants, Dave Goldberg and Ken Sykora; bassists were Jack Collier and Frank Donnison, and drummers were Maurice Berman and Dougie Cooper. Geraldo's stable of crooners and canaries included Al Bowlly, Len Camber, Dorothy Carless, Carole Carr, Beryl Davies, Roy Edwards, Cyril Grantham, Johnny Green, Jackie Hunter, Dick James, Monte Rey (born Montgomery Fife), Denny Vaughan and Doreen Villiers. Gerald Bright was felled by a heart attack during a vacation in Vevey, Switzerland on May 4 1974. By the 1990s trombonist Chris Dean was leading a revived Geraldo Orchestra in the pursuit of new horizons in Easy Listening.