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    Klink, Al (28 December 1915 – 7 March 1991)

    Multi-reed musician from Danbury, Connecticut, who is most famous for being one of the twin saxes on Glenn Miller’s version of “In the Mood”.  The other one was Tex Beneke.  Al was with the Miller orchestra during its salad days, between 1939 and 1942, appearing on numerous recordings and the soundtracks of a couple of films, Orchestra Wives and Sun Valley Serenade.  When Miller entered the armed services, Al went on to perform with two more of the greats, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. 

     

    In 1944, he appeared on another one of his most famous recordings, “Opus No. 1” by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra.  He also recorded with Billie Holiday and with Ruby Braff on her Billie Holiday tribute album, Holiday in Braff.  In the late ‘40s, he enjoyed steady work at NBC and WNEW, and continued to be tapped for studio work, on fare such as Lucky Millinder’s “Let it Be” backed with “Sweet Slumber”, released on 45 and 78, and material that would eventually appear on The Complete Decca Recordings of Billie Holiday. 

     

    On 22nd October 1951, he was in the studio with Neal Hefti and His Orchestra, recording “Charmaine”, “Regular Man” and “Uncle Jim”.  He then joined the Sauter-Finnegan Orchestra, and appeared on several recordings with them in 1952, including “April in Paris”, “Midnight Sleighride”, “Rain”, and “When Hearts Are Young”.  In 1953, they had fun recording “Child’s Play”, “Dream Play”, “Holiday”, and “Horseplay”. 

     

    He spent a couple of years recording with Ella Fitzgerald, specifically 1954-1955.  His only credit as a bandleader led to a Grammy Award and a Grand Award, a half-dozen tracks recorded with Bob Alexander for an album entitled Progressive Jazz.  In 1956, he appeared on Lee Wiley’s LP, West of the Moon.  Then he chipped in on a compilation called Jazz for Lovers, released in 1957.  In 1959, he appeared in the “Salute to Jazz” episode of The Steve Allen Show. 

     

    It would not be his last TV work, to be sure.  He eventually became a fixture on The Tonight Show.  In 1963, he and fellow Tonight Show musician Doc Severinsen collaborated with Enoch Light and His Orchestra on Let’s Dance Bossa Nova.  Apparently, The Tonight Show kept him pretty busy, as his recordings waned in the 1960s, just as the big-band era had waned a decade before. 

     

    In 1972, he resurfaced on vinyl with the new Glenn Miller Orchestra and a number of Miller alumni for new recordings of old material, The Best of Glenn Miller.  He then went on a quick tour of Antigua with Bob Alexander and Bill Crow.  In 1974, he performed with Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall and joined the World’s Greatest Jazz Band, with whom he would stay until 1982.  In the interim, he found time to appear on Frank Sinatra’s 1979 boxed set, Trilogy.  He continued playing live gigs at Eddie Condon’s jazz club in New York until retiring in the mid-80s. 

     

    On 13th March 1991, Al passed away in Bradenton, Florida.  There was a moment of levity at his funeral when Al’s daughter played his favourite rendition of “In the Mood”.  Although reports differ as to which version this was, it is believed to be the Ray Stevens version, with clucking chickens. 

     

    Al lives on in CD form, on re-issues and re-packagings such as The Definitive Collection of Louis Armstrong, The Remains of Tom Lehrer, and Glenn Miller on the Radio:  The Chesterfield Shows.

     

    Frank Sinatra recordings

    That's What God Looks Like To Me (Stan Irvin/Lan O'Kun)

    Reprise RPS 49233 (XNY2101S) (US 45)

     

    Theme from "New York, New York" (Fred Ebb/John Kander)

    Reprise RPS49233 (XNY 2103 S) (US 45)

     

    Sources:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Klink
    2. http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/music/artist/bio/0,,454053,00.html
    3. http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/music/artist/card/0,,454053,00.html
    4. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0459813/
    5. http://www.pugetsoundradio.com/forum/m-1226671689/
    6. http://books.google.com
    7. http://www.bjbear71.com/Winding/piet-6.html
    8. http://music2-cannae.aol.com/artist/al-klink/8944/main
    9. http://thirdisland.blogspot.com/2007/03/enoch-light-lets-dance-bossa-nova.html
    10. http://www.swing-thing.com/TheHomeOf/FredHallsSwingThing/Glenn_Miller_1_and_2.html
    11. http://www.billcrowbass.com/biography2.htm
    12. http://www.nme.com/artists/al-klink
    13. http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/store/artist/album/0,,163516,00.html
    14. http://www.peckmanjazz.com/bios/ALLEN.HTM
    15. http://query.nytimes.com
    16. http://www.local802afm.org/publication_entry.cfm?xEntry=59334576
    17. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Mood
    18. http://music.barnesandnoble.com/Artist/Al-Klink/c/71612
    19. http://mog.com/music/Tex_Beneke/biography

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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