Trumpet player and novelty singer Johnny Bond, a New Haven, Connecticut, native with a husky voice, worked with Jeff Snavely’s band in Chicago in early 1940 and Mitchell Ayres from 1941 to 1944, leaving briefly in late 1942 to become part of Jerry Wald’s band. He stayed only a few months, however, before going back to Ayres. While with Ayres, Bond was part of the orchestra’s sextet, The Jammers.
Bond fronted his own outfit in mid-1944 before joining Vaughn Monroe near the end of the year, staying until mid-1945 when he left for George Paxton’s orchestra, where he first worked with vocalist Rosemary Calvin. Bond left Paxton to form his own quintet in mid-1947, working at the Club Stop 33 on Long Island. By late 1947, though, Bond had joined Ray Eberle’s orchestra’s, where he once again worked with Calvin. Bond stayed only a short while with Eberle. By early 1948, he was leading his own combo again, with Calvin as vocalist. By late 1948, however, both he and Calvin had returned to Paxton, where they stayed until Paxton scrapped the band in early 1949 to start a music publishing house. Bond then formed his own group again, with Calvin as singer, this time with much more success.
The Johnny Bond Orchestra was hardly an “orchestra” in the traditional sense, being comprised of only five musicians, though those five musicians managed to create a very full sound. The group focused on novelty tunes but didn’t limit themselves to any one particular style, playing Latin, Dixieland and bop all in the same set. Bond’s band recorded on the MGM label in 1949 and signed with Capitol in 1950. Calvin often received co-billing. Pianist Ozzie Landez also sang, as did Bond. The group lasted into at least 1951, when Bond settled in his hometown and began to work locally.
By the mid-1950s, Bond had joined Sammy Kaye’s orchestra. He quit and rejoined Kaye multiple times throughout the rest of the decade and into the early 1960s, working as an arranger and as subleader during his period with the group. Bond, who had started out playing violin as a youth, had switched away from trumpet to clarinet by this time. He often appeared on Kaye’s television program, sometimes fronting his own Dixieland outfit.