Glen Gray's Casa Loma orchestra was for two decades one of the finest in the big-band era.
Gray had a long musical career that led to the movies, a number of hit recordings and widespread popularity, especially among the college set.
He studied at the American Conservatory of Music after forming his first small group, then joined Jean Goldkette's Orange Blossoms as a saxophone player. In 1929, the Orange Blossoms became the famed Casa Loma band. When Casa Loma was at its peak, it played in virtually every top theater and dance pavilion.
Gray's band was actually the Casa Loma Corp., the first such business arrangement in orchestral history. Some of its famous recordings were "Smoke Rings," "It's the Talk of the Town," "No Name Jive" and "Casa Loma Stomp."
Gray came out of retirement in 1956 to supervise a number of recording sessions that featured the original Casa Loma "sound" as well as tributes to other bands of the 1930s.
Many well-known musical personalities at one time worked with Gray. They included Bix Beiderbecke, Mildred Bailey, Bobby Hackett, Sonny Dunham, Pee Wee Hunt, Kenny Sargent, Gene Gifford and Larry Wagner.