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Beneke, Tex [Gordon ]locked

  • Brian Peerless

(b Fort Worth, Feb 12, 1914; d Costa Mesa, CA, May 30, 2000). American tenor saxophonist, singer, and bandleader. As a child he played soprano saxophone, and in his teens he worked with territory bands in Texas and Oklahoma. In 1938 he joined Glenn Miller, to whom he had been recommended by Gene Krupa. Miller gave him a highly prominent role, and his playing may be heard on In the Mood and other pieces. Beneke also became one of the band’s principal singers; he often took duets with Marion Hutton, and sang with the Modernaires on such recordings as Chattanooga Choo Choo. He appeared with the band in films and became extremely popular, winning several polls. When the ensemble disbanded in 1942 Beneke toured with the Modernaires. During World War II he directed a navy dance band in Oklahoma, and following his discharge he was selected by the administrators of Miller’s estate to assume leadership of the latter’s band (1946). After ceasing to direct this in 1950 he established a similar ensemble that emulated Miller’s style. He remained active as a bandleader into the 1990s and continued to perform with groups of Miller’s former sidemen, including the Big Band Academy of America (1987).

Selected recordings

As sideman with G. Miller (all recorded for Bluebird unless otherwise indicated): King Porter Stomp (1938, 7853)

In the Mood (1939, 10416)

My Melancholy Baby (1940, 10665)

Alice Blue Gown (1940, 10701)

Chattanooga Choo Choo (1941, 11230)

Serenade in Blue (1942, Vic. 27935)

Sleepy Town Train (1942, Vic. 201509)

Soundtracks of Sun Valley Serenade and Orchestra Wives (1941–2, 20C 904)

As sideman with others

Metronome All Stars: Bugle Call Rag (1941, Vic. 27314)

Royal Flush (1941, Col. 36499)

first issued on Metronome All Stars: Swing Era: Modern Era (1940–50, Har. 7044), Dear Old Southland (1941)

Glenn Miller Singers [re-formed]: Reunion in Hi Fi (c1958, MCA 1512)

Selected films and videos

Sun Valley Serenade (1941)

Orchestra Wives (1942)

Melody Time (1946)

Tex Beneke (1946)

Tex Beneke and the Glenn Miller Orchestra (1946)

Tex Beneke and his Orchestra (1948)

Tex Beneke and Orchestra (1948)

Sweet Serenade (1950)

Tex Beneke Fronting the Glenn Miller Memorial Band (1965)

Bibliography

  • T. Beneke: “Swing was Never King!,” Metronome, 63/2 (1947), 20
  • “Beneke Book, Properties Grabbed by Ex-manager,” DB, 18/4 (1951), 1
  • C. Garrod: Tex Beneke and his Orchestra (Spotswood, NJ, 1973, rev. 3/1997) [discography]
  • J. Burns: “Tex Beneke,” Mainstream, no.1 (1974), 10
  • G. T. Simon: Glenn Miller and his Orchestra (New York, 1974/R1980), 123, 437
  • “Tex Beneke för Millers arv vidare” [Tex Beneke is passing on the Miller legacy], Orkester journalen, 59/10 (1991), 19
  • Obituary, B. Ratliff New York Times (1 June 2000)
  • Obituary, S. Voce, The Independent (3 June 2000)
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