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Russ Morgan

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Biography

Russ Morgan was a major arranger and composer in the pre-rock era. He played in New York groups during the early '20s and did arrangements for Victor Herbert and John Philip Sousa. He was a music director on radio in Detroit in 1926, doing arrangements for Fletcher Henderson, Chick Webb, Louis Armstrong, the Boswell Sisters, and the Dorsey Brothers. Later, Morgan wrote Cotton Club reviews, conducted an orchestra on Broadway, and served as music director for Brunswick. He played with Freddy Martin in 1934 and formed his own band in 1936. During the late '30s, '40s, and '50s, he led an extremely successful orchestra. The songs were simple, coy, and often embarrassingly contrived, but radio audiences loved them. Morgan introduced the Ames Brothers singing group in 1949. The coming of rock & roll ended Morgan's reign, but he kept doing concerts and shows in Las Vegas during the '50s and '60s. His son Jack kept the band going into the mid-'80s. ~ Ron Wynn
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