Born: July 24, 1915 | Died: April 11, 1949 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
This biography is created in 'Loving Memory' of my father, Herbert (Herbie) M. Haymer. It is also dedicated to my wife Nancy, daughters, Cynthia and Lisa, son Bruce, Granddaughters Danielle, Brittany and Shellsea, Grandsons Charles Jr. and JJ and of course Great-Grandson Liam.
My father was born on July the 24th, 1915 in Jersey City, New Jersey. It should be noted that his Surname was changed to Haymer when he 'signed' with an agent in 1932 to become a professional musician.
The oldest son of William and Sophie Selchau Haymer, my father had two brothers (Bill and Ted) and a sister (Dorothy). In their younger years they grew up in Lyndhurst NJ and ultimately moved to Rutherford NJ in the late 1920's. At the age of fifteen, Herbie elected to take a music class at Rutherford High School and immediately took to the Alto Saxaphone. During his high school years, he met Anthony (Tony) Mottola and George Paxton. They were students at Kearny High School which was one burrough away. The three future pofessional musicians formed a small jazz group and practiced their skills together at each others homes. Although Tony and George were three years Herbie's junior, they would all wind-up playing at Frank Daley's Meadowbrook Ballroom in Cedar Grove NJ in the early 1930's.
Herbie signed with a professional agent in his senior year at Rutherford High School and unfortunately, to his mother's dismay, dropped out of school and started playing at Yung's Chinese and American Restaurant in New Your City. Herbie was seventeen years old. As previously mentioned, he joined Frank Daley and his two friends at the Meadowbrook Ballroom after they had graduated from High School.
This was short lived as, in 1935 Herbie joined Red Norvo and his rise as a professional musician was assured. In 1937 Herbie joined the Jimmy Dorsey Big Band. In 1941 he went with Woody Herman until my birth in April of 1942. It was at this point that my father made a decision to move west to Hollywood California and in October of 1942 he joined the Kay Kyser Orchestra and we moved into our home in the Hollywood Hills (Mulholland Drive). At this juncture in Herbie's career, continuous work was not a problem and his potential in the industry unlimited.
In 1943 Herbie joined the US Navy Goldman Band and was playing at the various USO's until his discharge in 1944.
At this point the Herbie Haymer Quintet was formed and featured Nat King Cole on the piano. They produced six songs of which twelve were recorded and all are available in CD format.
Also, in 1945 Herbie joined the Paul Weston Orchestra to provide stability and minimize the excessive amount of travel so he could be with family. In the period of 1945 to 1949 Herbie was in over 180 sessions that the Weston Orchestra recorded, to include the majority of famous artists such as Frank Sinatra, Helen O'Connell and Peggy Lee.
On April 11th of 1949, my father was on his way home from the completion of a recording session with Frank Sinatra for the tune 'The Hucklebuck'. He was killed by a drunk driver in Santa Monica at approx. 1:30 AM. I am told by family members that had he been driving the sedan and not the convertible, he most likely would have survived? The driver was subsequently arrested and charged with manslaughter and then attempted suicide? I believe she was a socialite living in the Hollywood Hills.
It was tragic that Herbie's life was shortened and I am certain he was a great loss to the music industry.
More to come.....