In American popular music, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey achieved that too rare combination: musical sophistication and vast commercial appeal. Though the brothers went separate ways for most of their careers, they had great influence on the Swing Era, from the '20s through their deaths in the mid-'50s.
Though the siblings split in 1935 and started their own bands, not to come together again until 1953, their impact on the music is linked hand-in-glove.
Tommy's band included such notables as Bunny Berigan, Yank Lawson and Buddy Rich and such singers as Connie Haines, Jo Stafford and Frank Sinatra. Jimmy was regarded as one of the leading saxophonists of his time, whose influence was felt on such players as Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins.
"Jimmy had a huge impact on anybody who held a saxophone in those days," said trombonist Jim Miller who first played for the brothers in 1953 when he was 18.
The two brothers were like night and day, he added.
"Jimmy was the gentleman of gentlemen, the opposite of Tommy completely. Tommy was aggressive because he was a perfectionist, and of course he was hardest on himself. He always demanded that we give our best, plus 10% or 15%. Jimmy also demanded that, but he did it in a very laid-back style."