Remembering past bandleaders, musicians, arrangers and ballroom operators.
Ferguson, Walter “Maynard”
Ferguson, Trumpeter, Big Band Leader, Dies
Los Angeles – Walter “Maynard” Ferguson, the big band leader and trumpeter whose screaming, high-register solos and pop-tinged arrangements thrilled his fans and sometimes appalled his critics, died Thursday. He was 78. An active musician, Ferguson recorded 60 albums in his long career and generally played about 150 annual engagements up until last year, his manager said.
[Source: Lincoln Journal Star (Lincoln, Nebraska), dated August 25, 2006]
Herbie Fields Found Dead
Miami (UPI) – Band Leader Herbie Fields committed suicide at his home here Wednesday by taking an overdose of sleeping pills, police said.
The 39-year-old musician was found lying on a living room couch by his son, David, 15. Police said a note addressed to the bandleader’s wife “indicated despondency.” Part of the note read: “I have completed my mission in life.”
But George Belmonte, manager of a local restaurant where Fields’ band was playing, said Fields was in “especially good spirits” Tuesday night because of a new record that was just released.
Police said a number of sleeping pills were found in the Fields’ house. The medical examiner scheduled an autopsy.
Fields, winner of the Metronome and Esquire awards for his saxophone playing, was a vigorous foe of rock and roll music. He once said, “It’s making mental infants out of tomorrow’s voters.”
He recorded for a number of major record companies and was best known for his rendition of “Jealousy” and “Dardenella.” Fields organized his first band when he was about 19 years old.
[Source: Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), dated September 18, 1958]
Shep Fields Dies in N.Y.
Los Angeles (UPI) - Bandleader Shep Fields, who rose to fame in the big band era with his "Rippling Rhythm Orchestra," died Monday of a heart attack at age 70.
The Brooklyn native, who died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, will be buried Friday in New York City.
Fields, a saxophonist, and his orchestra made more than 300 records including such hits as "The Jersey Bounce," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "Thanks For The Memory," "September in the Rain" and "It's De-lovely."
Fields said he got the idea to name his orchestra "Rippling Rhythm" when he saw - and heard - his wife blowing on a straw into an ice cream soda.
From then on, Fields blew into a straw in a glass filled with water before every performance.
[Source: Omaha World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), dated February 24, 1981]
Larry Fotine; Musician, Arranger, Songwriter
Larry Fotine, who wrote more than 300 songs and arranged music for several big bands, has died at a Carson City, Nev., hospital. He was 79.
A former San Fernando Valley resident, Fotine died Nov. 25 of an aortic aneurysm, according to mortuary records.
Born Lawrence C. Fotinakis on April 27, 1911, in Camden County, N. J., he was leader of Larry Fotine and His Orchestra, which played nationwide from 1929 until 1955.
A member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Fotine wrote "You Were Only Fooling" in 1947, in addition to feature songs and background music for animated television specials.
He also arranged music for the bands of Lawrence Welk, Sammy Kaye and Jan Garber, and wrote several books on music theory, including "Contemporary Musician's Handbook and Dictionary."
Three months ago, he moved to Minden, Nev.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Dorothy; son Donald Fotinakis of Minden; daughter Barbara Atkins of Upland, Calif., and four grandchildren.
Visitation is planned from 4 to 9 p.m. today at Utter-McKinley Mortuary, 11071 Columbus Ave., Mission Hills, which is handling the arrangements.
A Mass is scheduled to be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday at San Fernando Mission Chapel at the mission cemetery, 11160 Stranwood Ave., Mission Hills. Burial will follow.
[Source: Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California), dated December 4, 1990]
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