In 1942, Robert Vincent was assigned to the Army’s Morale Branch, Radio Section. A pioneer in sound recording, he established Armed Forces Radio and later served as a sound engineer on the Nürnberg Trials. The Army had been sending entertainment to overseas personnel since the establishment of the Morale Branch in 1940, but in 1942, two major musicians unions engaged in a strike against all four U.S. record companies, and imposed a recording ban that was to last until 1944. In short order, the supply of music available to send to the soldiers dried up. Our hero, Lt. Vincent, visited the Pentagon asking approval to turn the US Army into an ad hoc record company; the Army would produce and press its own records for military personnel. Permission granted, he brokered a compromise among the two unions, the four record companies and the US government and, in the end, eight million records were shipped in monthly care packages to every corner of the world. It's a great story, and the tale's soundtrack is the music of, and by, the Greatest Generation - a set of WWII-era swing and jazz that includes standards we love, and with a handful of rarities awaiting excavation.
A tale of woe & naughty bits, The Gift of the Vagi is an, um, deeply moving story of poor choices; a sexy thief, a flummoxed banker, an irritated policeman and financial catastrophe. Tragedy + Time = Comedy, so join us for laughs, cocktails, and sparkling arrangements of the songs of Berlin, the Bros. Gershwin, Porter, Coleman, Dorough, Willie, JT, Randy, Zeff & more. Because bad decisions make good stories.
Irving Berlin is impossible. There’s too much to say, and far too much to sing. He wrote 1500 songs, 18 musicals, and 19 movie scores in his 65-year career. So I’ll make you a guarantee right now: there is something you will leave the house to hear - you'll find pants and parking - for something I’m not going to sing. George Gershwin called him the greatest songwriter in our history. Jerome Kern said, “Irving Berlin has no place in American music; he is American music.” Sammy Cahn said, “If a man can point to six songs that are immediately identifiable, he’s achieved something. Irving Berlin has 60." Sammy says, "You couldn't have a holiday without his permission.” The biggest challenge was choosing...The set list includes hits like "Blue Skies", Cheek to Cheek", "Let's Face the Music and Dance" and others, plus a few favored targets for instrumentalists' creativity, including "How Deep is the Ocean". We have lovely arrangements of tunes from "White Christmas" and "Annie Get Your Gun" on offer, and a handful of rarities, including "Pack Up Your Sins and Go to the Devil" and "You'd Be Surprised."