Gail Reese

Photo of Gail Reese

Not much has been recorded in history about vocalist Gail Reese, though she sang with three early and important swing bands. Born in New York City, Reese began working for radio station WOR in 1934 at age 17, soon after her high school graduation. She left in September and by July 1935 was with trombonist Mike Durso’s orchestra. She had become part of Dick Messner’s band by July 1936 until she left to join Charlie Barnet that October. In February 1937, she was with Carl Ravell at the Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit before joining Bunny Berigan’s band by July of that year. She left Berigan in April 1938 to become part of Glenn Miller’s third and most famous band, but Miller, looking to bring more excitement into the orchestra, soon replaced her with Marion Hutton.[1]

In early 1939, Reese married Boston musician Pete Green, whom she had met while with Miller, and she subsequently retired from show business.

Notes

  1. Coincidentally, Durso by that time had given up his band and was playing with Vincent Lopez, from whom Miller signed Hutton. ↩︎

Music

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  • Why Talk About Love?
    Bunny Berigan (Gail Reese), Victor (1937)
  • Let 'Er Go
    Bunny Berigan (Gail Reese), Victor (1937)
  • Sophisticated Swing
    Bunny Berigan (Gail Reese), Victor (1938)
  • An Old Straw Hat
    Bunny Berigan (Gail Reese), Victor (1938)
  • Why'd Ya Make Me Fall in Love
    Glenn Miller (Gail Reese), Biltmore (1938)

All recordings are from the Internet Archive's 78rpm collection. Copyright owners, please see our removal policy.

Radio

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  • Glenn Miller
    June 18, 1938 (NBC) 29:59

Sources

  1. Simon, George T. The Big Bands. 4th ed. New York: Schirmer, 1981.
  2. The Online Discographical Project. Accessed 10 Aug. 2016.
  3. “Pipping Rock Club Opens Its Season at Saratoga Spa.” Schenectady Gazette 27 Jul. 1935: 5.
  4. “Once-Overs.” Billboard 18 Jul. 1936: 20.
  5. “Bands and Orchestras.” Billboard 24 Oct. 1936: 13.
  6. “Three Shows in Detroit Hotel.” Billboard 6 Feb. 1937: 15.
  7. “Berigan's Canary.” Down Beat Oct. 1937: 3.
  8. “Reviews of Records.” Billboard 9 Oct. 1937: 12.
  9. “Swing Songstress Will Be Featured by Bunny.” The Davidsonian [Davidson, North Carolina] 2 Feb. 1938: 5.
  10. “Bost'n Penthouse Uses Two Bands.” Down Beat Feb. 1939: 6.
  11. “Earl Wilson Interviews Betty Hutton.” The Sunday Star [Wilmington, DE] 20 Jan. 1952: n.p.