GLENN MILLER! 1929 Paycheck<BR>Made Out to Glenn Miller<BR>For Work With Rudy Vallee Orchestra<BR>Signed on Back by Miller!<br>SOLD!

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Glenn Miller's signature is rare for obvious reasons, his small plane having crashed into the English channel in 1944 during WW2.

This piece is extra special because of the year in which it was signed. Miller was a virtual nobody in 1929. Around that time, Miller was freelancing as an arranger in New York, this check is probably payment for an arrangement he wrote for the Vallee orchestra.

The condition of the check is pristine. There is some minor (and understandable) aging.

A wonderful piece.

The following is a short biography of Glenn Miller by Scott Yanow of AMG, reprinted with Scott's kind permission.

Glenn Miller led the most popular band in the world during 1939-42 and the most beloved of all the swing-era orchestras. His big band played a wide variety of melodic music (including swing, vocal ballads and novelties) and had tremendous success in every area. Jazz was only part of their music and Miller (like Stan Kenton) was just not interested in swinging like Count Basie. He employed some good horn soloists along the way but was most concerned in displaying strong musicianship, well-rehearsed ensembles, danceable tempoes and putting together an enjoyable and well-rounded show.

Miller grew up in Colorado, attended college for a short time and in 1926 joined Ben Pollack's new band. He was with the group for two years, contributing arrangements and taking some trombone solos but, after Jack Teagarden was discovered and signed up, Miller took the hint and quit. In 1928 he was a freelance arranger in New York and he would work most prominently during the next few years with Red Nichols in pit orchestras, as Smith Ballew's musical director and with the Dorsey Brothers. In 1935 he helped organize Ray Noble's American Orchestra and led his first session but even by 1937, Glenn Miller was still obscure. He was inspired by the success of many new big bands and he put together an orchestra of his own. That venture started out promising with some fine recordings but it soon failed, partly because it did not have a personality of its own. In mid-1938 Miller tried again and although he had a recording contract with Bluebird, the first year was mostly a struggle. However this time around, by having a clarinet double the melody of the saxophones an octave higher, he had his own trademark. An engagement at Glen Island Casino in the summer of 1939 earned the orchestra a regular radio broadcast and soon their recordings of "Moonlight Serenade" (Miller's theme), "Sunrise Serenade" and particularly "Little Brown Jug" became hits and by the end of the year Glenn Miller was a household name and his band was considered a sensation. During 1939-42 there were many additional hits including "In the Mood," "At Last," "Stairway to the Stars," "Tuxedo Junction," "Pennsylvania 6-5000," "Chattanooga Choo Choo," "A String of Pearls," "Elmer's Tune," "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," "American Patrol," "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo," "Serenade in Blue" and "Jukebox Saturday Night." There was simply no competition!

From the jazz standpoint, Miller's best soloists were trumpeters Clyde Hurley, Johnny Best and (by 1942) Bobby Hackett. Tex Beneke, who was more famous for his good-natured vocals, was a decent tenor-saxophonist who had a lot of short solos. Less tolerable to jazz listeners were the many ballad vocals of Ray Eberle (who often sounded as if he were straining) and the lightweight but cheerful contributions of singer Marion Hutton.

Only Glenn Miller's decision to enlist in the Army stopped his orchestra's success. He did the near-impossible and organized the finest military jazz band ever heard, his Army Air Force Band. By 1944, when it had relocated to London, it featured clarinetist Peanuts Hucko, pianist Mel Powell, drummer/singer Ray McKinley, trumpeter Bobby Nichols and sometimes a string section and a vocal group. Their version of "St. Louis Blues March" became famous and this group's broadcasts and radio transcriptions are well worth searching for. Glenn Miller flew across the English Channel in December 1944 with plans of setting up engagements on the Continent. His plane was shot down (quite possibly in error by the Allies) and lost.

The Army Air Force Band stayed together through 1945. There have been many Glenn Miller ghost orchestras since, but all have been stuck in the role of recreating the past including note-for-note duplications of the recorded solos. The oddest case is Tex Beneke who has spent the past 50 years essentially performing over and over again the same routines that he had done with Miller during a three-year period!

All of Glenn Miller's Bluebird recordings (from 1938-42) have been reissued a countless number of times including in "complete" sets. His band appears quite prominently in two Hollywood movies of the 1940s (Sun Valley Serenade and Orchestra Wives) that are recommended viewing. -- Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

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Regular price: $1,200.00Sale price: $600.00

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