ADVERTISE WITH US

Claude Thornhill

Although some of his recordings were on the periphery of jazz and his orchestra was at its most popular in the early '40s, Claude Thornhill's main importance to jazz was the influence that his arrangements and orchestra's sound had on cool jazz of the late '40s. After studying at a music conservatory and playing piano in bands based in the Midwest, Thornhill worked for Paul Whiteman and Benny Goodman in 1934, and for Ray Noble's American band of 1935-1936 (for whom he also arranged). He appeared on some Billie Holiday records and his arrangement of “Loch Lomond” was a big hit for Maxine Sullivan. Although he recorded as a leader in 1937, it was in 1940 that Thornhill put together his own orchestra. The band, featuring long tones played by horns that de-emphasized vibrato, had an unusual sound that sometimes accompanied the leader's tinkling piano. The instrumentation included two French horns and a tuba; sometimes all six of the reeds played clarinets in unison. Although classified by some as a sweet rather than swing band (since the group played a lot of ballads), with the addition in 1941 of Gil Evans as one of the arrangers, the recordings of Thornhill's orchestra attracted a lot of attention in the jazz world.

Read more

Discography

Videos

Similar

Artie Shaw Artie Shaw
clarinet
Gil Evans Gil Evans
composer/conductor
Charlie Barnet Charlie Barnet
composer/conductor
Jimmie Lunceford Jimmie Lunceford
composer/conductor
Les Brown Les Brown
composer/conductor

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.