The Sentimentalists

Photo of The Sentimentalists

The Clark Sisters, one of the vocal groups whom Tommy Dorsey renamed as the Sentimentalists.

Bandleader Tommy Dorsey bestowed the name “Sentimentalists,” referring to his nickname, the Sentimental Gentleman of Swing, to three different vocal groups who sang with his orchestra in the 1940s. Dorsey originally used the name at the turn of the 1940s for a small grouping of his musicians who recorded jazz. He first applied the moniker to vocalists in early 1943 when he assembled a quartet of male singers to replace the Pied Pipers.

The male Sentimentalists didn’t last long, and the Clark Sisters soon replaced them. Dorsey billed the sisters with the Sentimentalist name, though they were still often referred to by their real name. The four siblings remained with the band through April 1946 when they left with Dorsey’s blessing to feature on his Mutual radio network sustainer program, Endorsed by Dorsey. The group at that time reverted to their original name, the Clark Sisters. They subsequently recorded with Dorsey’s band in late 1947 sometimes using their own name and sometimes the Sentimentalists moniker.

The second Sentimentalists, a Canadian quintet consisting of George Deane, Ronald Martin, Alice Masker, Barbara Babineau, and Joe Duffy, joined Dorsey in September 1948. They recorded with the band but didn’t stay long. Dorsey also used the name Sentimentalists again in the early 1950s for a small grouping of his musicians.

An R&B vocal group of the same name recorded on Manor Records in 1946 but was not related to Dorsey’s unit. The name Sentimentalists was also later used by a doo-wop ensemble.


  1. “TD Builds New Vocal Unit.” Down Beat 1 Feb. 1943: 6.
  2. “TD Denver Orph's First Flesh Act in 4 Years.” Billboard 1 May 1943: 20.
  3. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 1 Nov. 1943: 5.
  4. “Bands Dug by the Beat: Tommy Dorsey.” Down Beat 15 Nov. 1943: 16.
  5. “T. Dorsey Plans 12-Concert Tour.” Billboard 27 May 1944: 13.
  6. “Sentimentalists Now Clarks in Switch to Dorsey Airseg.” Billboard 4 May 1946: 47.
  7. “On the Stand: Tommy Dorsey.” Billboard 9 Oct. 1948: 40.