Mal Hallett

Photo of Mal Hallett
  • Born

    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Died

    November 20, 1952
    Boston, Massachusetts

Swing pioneer Mal Hallett graduated from the Boston Conservatory of Music. During WWI, he entertain troops in France as a member of Al Moore’s orchestra, and during the 1920s he led his own jazz band. In the early 1930s, Hallett formed a very progressive dance band that focused on swing music, before it became popularized by Benny Goodman. Hallett’s orchestra was popular among the college crowd and spent most of its existence touring the Northeast and Upper South. The band finally broke out onto the national stage in early 1937 when it began to secure long-term engagements at prominent New York hotels, along with the radio time that provided. They made their first recordings that year on Decca.

During its early days, Hallett’s orchestra featured many young musicians who would go on to become big stars in their own right, including Gene Krupa, Jack Teagarden, Frankie Carle, Jack Jenney, and Toots Mondello. Vocalists over the years included Irene Daye, Jerry Perkins, Judy Darling, Buddy Wellcome, Teddy Grace, and Kay Marie Baird.

Though the group had many followers, the band’s hard hitting style kept them from ever achieving any big success. Hallett was also older than most of the other swing leaders, and he had trouble connecting with the younger fans. Mal Hallett passed away in 1952.


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  • Be Careful, It's My Heart
    Mal Hallett (Jerry Perkins), Hit (1942)
  • I Left My Heart at the Stage Door Canteen
    Mal Hallett (Jerry Perkins), Hit (1942)
  • Jingle Jangle Jingle
    Mal Hallett (Buddy Wellcome), Hit (1942)
  • He Wears a Pair of Silver Wings
    Mal Hallett (Judy Darling), Hit (1942)

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