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Jack Sperling

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Primary Instrument: Drums

Born: August 17, 1922 | Died: February 26, 2004    

Jack Sperling

The definitive American Big Band and studio drummer. He was a recording artist, versatile jazz combo and dynamic Dixieland musician. In 1941 he played with trumpeter Bunny Berigan

Bunny Berigan
Bunny Berigan
1908 - 1942
trumpet
. Following the end of World War II Jack, along with a young pianist Henry Mancini, joined Tex Beneke
Tex Beneke
Tex Beneke
1914 - 2000
saxophone
when he took the popular Glenn Miller big band on the road (1946-1949), following Miller's death....
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The best drummer? Jack Sperling. He did maybe 40 albums with me, in California and New York. Just a fantastic drummer. He's kinda semi-retired. Jack was almost ten years older than me - I'm going on 72, Jack would be 82 now. He did a lot of stuff with a lot of big bands around the country - Les Brown for years. He did a lot of studio work. His stuff with me is just phenomenal.
Pete Fountain in an interview with Bunny Matthews

PETE FOUNTAIN DAY October 29, 1959. New Orleans paid him homage, with a concert at the Municipal Auditorium capping festivities. Drummer Jack Sperling, his two bass drums, various smaller drums and cymbals, and ex-Stan Ken-ton bassist, Don Bagley, were flown in from Holly- wood for the occasion. After taking in the sights and sounds of the city, the two West Coasters met with Pete and his New Orleans colleagues, vibist Godfrey Hirsch and pianist Merle Koch. The group talked things over before the concert, exchanged pleasantries, then sat down and wailed. It was as simple as that.

Though the group had not performed together before, there was a surprising sense of rapport about the proceedings. Counter-lines, unisons and riffs were dashed off with precision and feeling; the rhythm section flowed, followed and underlined, often in an almost intuitive way.

“And that drummer!” insisted my friend, “he (Jack Sperling) really broke things up with his great solos and rhythm playing. He made the group swing hard-and the entire audience reacted strongly.” It was a memorable, lifting, musical evening in New Orleans .
Burt Korall Co-Editor The Jazz Word

'PETE FOUNTAIN Salutes the GREAT CLARINETISTS'. There are three main groups. On all of them the firm foundation is a superbly integrated rhythm section composed of Stan Wrightsman on piano, Morty Corb on bass, and a familiar figure common to every one of Pete's previous Coral albums (even those recorded in New Orleans), the indomitable and propulsive Jack Sperling, whose drums provide a vital and exciting spark throughout. To these men are added with a brass section (Conrad Gozzo, lead trumpet; Art Depew, Johnny Best, and George Thow or Jackie Coons, trumpets; Moe Schneider, Bill Schaefer and Joe Howard or Marshall Cram, trombones; Pete Lofthouse, bass trombone). The rhythm section provides the foundation for a five piece saxophone section with Willie Schwartz, alto and tenor; Eddie Miller, Plas Johnson, Babe Russin, tenors; Chuck Gentry, baritone, for some of the most potent big band sounds ever produced by these topflight West Coast musicians.

Jack Sperling's drums are a major incentive to the soaring Fountain horn. After a Sperling break, the tempo doubles to bring the performance to a compelling climax. Sperling's punctuations drive the final chorus along engagingly and Pete uses a Goodmanesque flourish to bring the album to a swinging close.
Leonard Feather, Author of The New Encyclopedia of Jazz

Tex Beneke was a stalwart member of Glenn Miller's orchestra, both as tenor- saxophonist and vocalist, from 1938 to 1942. After Miller's death, Beneke was chosen to lead the Miller orchestra and later he formed his own band which played very much in the Miller style. Glenn's influence is very clear in this collection of tracks apparently recorded for radio broadcasts in the late 1940s and here remastered with plenty of atmosphere. The album opens and closes with the inevitable 'Moonlight Serenade' and includes other Miller favourites like the 'St Louis Blues March', featuring Jack Sperling on drums .

Other featured soloists include trumpeter Pete Condoli and drummer Jack Sperling (both very impressive on 'Ali Baba' and 'Hallelujah'). Many people have the impression that Glenn Miller's orchestra was exclusively sweet and mellow but it could also swing like mad “ and so could Tex Beneke's ensemble.
Tony Augarde

New Orleans December 2003/ Famed drummer, Jack Sperling, has undergone surgery at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles for a head injury from a fall at his home in El Segundo, California. He remained in a prolonged comma after surgery. Jack passed away February 26, 2004 Los Angeles.
The Jazz Gazette

  • Pete Fountain Presents Jack Sperling And His Fascinatin' Rhythm
    Strand Records
    1961

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Rogers drums and hardware. Sperling's signature set was double 22" bass drums, twin toms and twin floor toms on either side, white mother of pearl. Earlier in his career through the 60's Sperling played Ludwig before endorsing Rogers.
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Pete Fountain Presents Jack...
Coral Records (1961)

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