Although he subsequently found himself in dispute with the bandleader’s estate, Tex Beneke played a major role in establishing the trademark Glenn Miller sound as one of the most successful inventions of the big band era. His tenor saxophone solos and amiable vocals featured prominently on many of Miller’s biggest hits, including ‘In The Mood’, ‘String of Pearls’, ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’, ‘I Got a Girl in Kalamazoo’ and ‘Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree’, and he was a key member of the saxophone section in his four years with the band.
He joined in 1938, having been recommended to Miller by drummer Gene Krupa, and remained in the band until the trombonist disbanded the unit when he entered the armed forces in 1942. Beneke was never a member of Miller’s final Army Air Force Band, which was based in England prior to the bandleader’s still mysterious death when his aircraft disappeared over the English Channel while on a flight to France in 1944. Instead, the saxophonist toured in the USA with The Modernaires, the vocal group formerly associated with the Miller band, then led a Navy band in Oklahoma.