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Subject: Meet The Commanders Curated by: Splogman Category: Album Status: offline Launched: march-06-2005 last update: april-13-2023

                 Meet the Commanders with Eddy Grady Vol.1

1. "O" (Oh)
2. Meet the brass
3. Honey in the horn
4. Swanee river boogie

Update by Hans Koert: O - 84784 // Meet The Brass - 84785 (Decca 28779) Recorded june 29th 1953
Honey in the horn - 84026 // Swanee River Boogie - 84025 (Decca 28659) Recorded februari 27th 1953
All recorded in New York City, arranged and conducted by Toots Camarata.
Memory lane time! I got this EP from my father when I was a small kid, to get me acquainted with jazz. He had ordered it in the 1950ies at a small record shop together with some friends when he was a trombone student in Utrecht, after hearing it on the radio.
I liked this music very much. When I left the house when I was 21, dad let me keep it. I kept playing it every now and then and I even used "Meet the Brass" as a tune for a weekly show on the local radio of Haarlem and I learned they kept using it for a few years after I had left
I recently did some research and I realized that this is a hard to get piece of vinyl for people are paying up to 40 euros on e-bay for it. It wasn't easy to find more recordings of this band but finally I found another rendition of Swanee river boogie and a piece called The elephants Tango. I also obtained two songs with Louis Armstrong, but these seem to be still in print. update 2023: see Discogs for current information

The following information was found on AMERICAN BIG BANDS DATABASE PLUS

[ Eddie Grady and the Commanders ]
Eddie Grady was a child star drummer who later played with many bands before becoming a studio musician. Felix Mayerhofer, one of the band's great trombonists, has some fond memories of the Commanders, which are given here.
"Eddie's first, and only, band was owned by Decca Records and/or Tutti Camarata, - don't really know who. The band did all their rehearsing at the Decca Studios. Tutti rehearsed the band. They ran the road band too. Eddie Grady was paid like a sideman and we had a manager, Lester Lee, who took care of everything."

"The Grady orchestra recorded their very first album in 1953. Studio musicians recorded that Commander's album. It was a different group of musicians who comprised the first 'road' band and who subsequently did all the other recordings. If I remember correctly, Will Bradly, Chauncey Welsh and possibly Bobby Burns played on that original recording. Eddie had very fast hands. and was a featured drum soloist at every performance."

"The band was unique in that the trombone section was featured. They sat in the front row rather than the saxes. The first trombone section with the band was: Al Lorraine, Porky Cohen, Morty Trautman and Felix Mayerhofer. There were articles about the band in both the "Metronome" and I think "Downbeat" magazines. It was a great band and the musicians received very good wages for that time."

"Grady contracted diabetes while we were on the road with our first road band and went into a coma. I can still remember the night when we stopped the bus about 3 in the morning and he went outside to throw up. He then passed out. That's the reason (I think) he eventually got off the road."

"The Commanders toured for the 3 years between 1954 to 1957, playing the major ballrooms from coast to coast. They did a "Battle of the Bands" on one of the Jackie Gleason summer TV shows, playing against the Tommy Dorsey Band. During the years 1954-1955, the Commanders recorded a great number of singles (some of which sold quite well and were given air-time around the country). In 1957, Warren Covington became the leader for a short time, and changed to a traditional band with 5 saxes and using his own arrangements. By the way, the chief arrangers for the Commanders were Charley Shirley and Tutti Camarata. I don't think Covington had the band for very long."

"I left the band in 1956 to go to college. When I graduated college in 1958, I went back to New York City to work and I never heard a word about the band, until 1959. In the summer of 1959, I was working with a lounge act at the Mapes Hotel in Reno, Nevada when Eddie Grady walked in with pianist Joe Bushkin. Bushkin's trio was also playing at the Mapes. Grady had married the sister of actress Bonita Granville, who herself was married to Edmond O'Brien, the actor. Grady was freelancing in the Hollywood studios and playing with Bushkin's trio. I never heard from him after that."

"The original band had the 4 trombones in the front row. The second row consisted of 3 trumpets and two saxes (alto and a tenor who doubled on bass sax). The rhythm section were the drums, bass, piano and guitar. We had a vocalist or I should say stylist, dramatist. She was quite affective." I remember most of the guys in the band, but I'm not sure about some of the spellings:

    Al Lorraine - Lead
    Porky Cohen - Jazz - Some lead too. (From Providence R.I.)
    Morty Trautmaun - - A little lead
    Felix Mayerhofer - A little lead

    1st - Unknown - I've got a mental block
    Willie Gillette - Jazz - He played some lead too.
    Mario Bonofidi - Split lead - From N.Y.

    Paul Gaglio - Alto - He was featured quite often.
    Lou Lindholm - Tenor and Bass Sax - He was also featured on record dates on the bass saxophone.

    Drums - Eddie Grady
    Bass - Rudy (Berser??) Replaced by Jimmy Gannon
    Piano - George Cooper
    Guitar - Griff Howe

    Lucia Roberts - She did a recording with the band ("All By Myself"). She was different. More like a French chanteuse.

The Big Bands database thanks Felix Mayerhofer (Splogman: Retired Band Director, Palmdale, CA - Also, former first trombone with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians; worked with Charlie Barnet, Billy May and the showbands of Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe) for sharing his memories of the Eddie Grady band.