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Billy May

ON AIR
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Bio

The last of the great arrangers who wrote regularly for Frank Sinatra, Billy May had several varied careers in and out of jazz. His first notable gig was as an arranger/trumpeter with Charlie Barnet (1938-1940), for whom he wrote the wah-wah-ing hit arrangement of Ray Noble's "Cherokee." Later, he worked in the same capacities for Glenn Miller (1940-1942) and Les Brown (1942) before settling into staff jobs, first at NBC studios, then at Capitol Records, where he led his own studio big band from 1951 to 1954. His arrangements for Sinatra, beginning with Come Fly With Me (1957) and ending with Trilogy (1979), are often in a walloping, brassy, even taunting swing mode, generating some of the singer's most swaggering vocals. May also did extensive scoring for television, film, and commercials. Although May was largely inactive in the '80s and '90s , he unexpectedly surfaced in 1996 with some typically bright big band charts for comic Stan Freberg's The United States of America, Vol. 2 (Rhino), 25 years after his contributions to Vol. 1. The veteran arranger died quietly at home on January 22, 2004 at the age of 87. ~ Richard S. Ginell
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Albums by
Billy May

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    12 songs

    On Air

    Billy May Big Band

    12 songs

    On Air

    Hits of Billy May

    12 songs

    On Air

    Grandes Orquestas

    14 songs

    On Air

    Orquestas del Mundo. Billy May

    21 songs

    On Air

    Billy May’s Bacchanalia and Naughty Operetta

    15 songs

    On Air

    Las Mejores Orquestas del Mundo Vol.2: Billy May

    12 songs

    On Air

    70

    12 songs

    On Air

    Plays For Fancy Dancin'

    12 songs

    On Air

    Olé Tormé

    12 songs

    On Air

    Girls and Boys on Broadway

    33 songs

    On Air

    Best of Billy May

    37 songs

    On Air

    The Greatest Hits of Billy May

    24 songs

    On Air

    A Band Is Born/Big Band Bash

    21 songs

    On Air

    Sorta-May (Sorta Dixie)

    15 songs

    On Air

    In Concert: Mayhem!

    20 songs

    On Air

    The May Parade

    12 songs

    On Air

    Elegant Jazz

    27 songs

    On Air

    Highlights Of Billy May

    29 songs

    On Air

    Driftwood

    24 songs

    On Air

    The Essential Billy May

    15 songs

    On Air

    Jimmie Lunceford In Hi-Fi

    13 songs

    On Air

    Swing Greats with Billy May, Vol. 1

    12 songs

    On Air

    Swing Greats with Billy May, Vol. 2

    25 songs

    On Air

    Best of the Essential Years: Billy May

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