Radio stars (Dec 1938)

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he bought an electric guitar and told the new trumpeter to learn how to play it. That trumpeter now knows how. He's never had a lesson, but Sammy told him which strings were which, and every time an arrangement is made a chart is drawn from which the electric guitar man works. That diagram is so simple that you or I could pluck the strings when and where necessary. Sammy uses the instrument only to back up sweet vocals, but he likes the effect there. In August, 1936, the band was stranded in Pittsburgh with no job and faint prospects of one. But Sammy per- suaded Bill Green to give Swing and Sivay a three-week trial at his Casino. He also talked him into putting in a radio wire. The combination resulted in a six months' contract and the entrance of Kaye into the big-time ranks. The following summer he landed a job at Point Pleasant, N. J. Again he persuaded the owner to put in a radio wire. That was three times in succession. Definite proof that Sammy was sold on radio. And most observers nowadays agree that radio sold Sammy. That winter—1937—he was hired by the Hotel Statler in Cleveland. It was Sammy's first big-league job and the kind he'd been hoping for. He had built his band for a hotel room. His music, like Lombardo's, was aimed both at those who just sit around and talk and those who want to dance. That job—with its regular broadcasts—was the last push needed to carry Sammy over into the big-money brackets. He now has his style down pat. It's sweet and slow. He has never played a swing number on a radio broadcast. But he's smart enough to vary his pace when he gets on a theatre stage or a dance floor. There he really blows it out. But on a radio broadcast, where the people who make bands listen, he keeps to his stereotyped formula. You listen to eight bars and you know it's Sammy Kaye. Any- one who makes a habit of listening to orchestras cannot possibly miss it. In the course of our discussion, I told him I thought his style was just about as corny as they come. That remark nearly produced blows. *'My band is not corny," said {Continued on page 56)