Born: December 26 Primary Instrument: Piano
Alan Glasscock began his interest in big band and swing music while still in elementary school, listening to such artists as The Andrews Sisters and Glenn Miller, even at that young age.
After taking up the piano, Glasscock attended the prestigious Arts Magnet High School in Dallas, TX. He recalls that many of his music instructors at that school were frustrated at his interest in jazz, as opposed to the standard Classical repertoire they insisted on. He certainly preferred boogie-woogie to Beethoven and Brahms! The same type of scenario paralleled Glenn Miller's head-butting with the Army Air Force's old guard; Miller wanted to play more modern music for our troops in the WW2 days besides the standard faire of Sousa marches. Both Glasscock and Miller eventually won their cases!
At the same time, his interests soon led him into the field of arranging after hearing the works of such arrangers as Jerry Gray, Bill Finegan, Paul Weston and Sy Oliver. He began putting together his own big band at the age of 18, because he was disappointed at the quality of big band music offered in his home town area of Dallas, TX. There were several big bands playing in the area offering dancers ballroom rhythms and some big band hits, but almost none of them played the authentic hits in their original recorded arrangements. Perhaps somewhat naively, Glasscock was determined to make a difference in the local big band scene...
Although one exception was long-time local bandleader Harvey Anderson, who became his mentor of sorts and provided Glasscock in with many original big band charts to begin helping build his book. In addition, Glasscock began writing his own arrangements for his band, transcribing them note-for-note onto paper from the original recordings.
It was also through Anderson that Glasscock met his long-time friend and idol, former Glenn Miller vocalist and sax player, Tex Beneke. Beneke was so impressed by Glasscock's knowledge of the big band era, and Glenn Miller in particular, that Beneke was prompted to state: He knows more about the Miller music than I do and I was there!
As Glasscock's fame and reputation in both arranging and bandleading grew, he also began playing piano with other local big bands, and arranging for many prominent regional and national bands, including Tex Beneke.
After many years honing his craft, Glasscock became affiliated with Lush Life Music (www.lushlifemusic.com). Lush Life CEO Myles Collins has been a tremendous supporter of Glasscock, and he is honored to with Lush Life as well. He now has over 50 arrangements being published through Lush Life, and that has led to more fame for Glasscock. Through his association with Lush Life Music, Glasscock has contributed charts to the libraries of big band all over the globe, including The Roger Berg Big Band, of Sweden.
In 2008, famed Grammy-award winning vocal group, The Manhattan Transfer, contacted Glasscock to write a big band chart for their upcoming Hollywood Bowl concert, featuring a festival of swing music. Glasscock points to this event as one of the major highlights of his career.
I've been a fan of theirs since the late-70s, and having them entrust this project to me was not only extremely flattering, but quite an honor. He counts Manhattan Transfer member, Alan Paul, as one his closest friends in the music biz.
The yearly highlight of his orchestra's performing schedule is the annual Big Band Hangar Dance, a benefit for the Vintage Flying Museum in Ft. Worth, TX. Performing yearly there since 1994, the museum is home to one of the few remaining B17-G Flying Fortress bombers. Yearly guests at the event, numbering in excess of 1000, enjoy dancing to live big band music and dressing in period attire.
Please visit the museum's website at: www.vintageflyingmuseum.org for more info on the activities and events at the museum.
When asked if big bands will ever come back, Glasscock responds: The big bands really never left only the audience left! But that seems to be changing, thanks to the amazing generation of younger people who are becoming fans of big band music and swing dancing. The future of swing music is firmly in their hands.