He was a band
leader and trumpeter born Rubin Zarchy in New York, New York, to a family where his father was a
mandolin player and encouraged his interest in music.
While young he
learned to play the violin but the trumpet took his interest and by the
time he was a teenager that’s what he was concentrating on. His decision to continue playing the
instrument was cemented when he was in the Boy Scouts and played the bugle
In 1934, when he was 20 years old, he became a member of the Joe Haymes orchestra, two years later he was playing the
trumpet for Benny Goodman and another year later he was working with Artie
In 1937 he was
beginning to become a sought after recording musician alongside his concert
appearances. This saw him working with countless bands and artists over the
next five years with some of them including Bob Crosby, Tommy Dorsey, Ella
Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Glenn Miller, Red Norvo
and Frank Sinatra.
arrival of WWII he was called upon by Glenn Miller in early 1943 who chose
him to be the first member of his Army Air Force Band with whom he was the
Master Sergeant. He performed
with the band throughout the war and was said to be the last person to talk
to Glenn Miller before he got on the plane for what would be his final
flight. The Glenn Miller Band continued after the war and over the years he
went on to join them for many national and international tours.
After he left his
military service he settled in Los Angeles at the beginning of the 1950a after an
invitation by Frank Sinatra.
This led him to becoming an extremely sought after studio musician
and performing with literally hundreds of headlining acts for the rest of
his professional career.
He was also a
trumpeter with many of the bands that performed on the popular CBS TV shows
of the ‘60s and ‘70s and the NBC Staff Orchestras that were
resident in Los Angeles and New York. He could regularly be heard playing on shows such as The Danny
Kaye Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour among others.
He retired in
1980, but it was not a complete retirement as he became a member of the
Great Pacific Jazz Band and regularly toured the world with them, including
32 concert tours to Japan.
that he appeared on during the course of his career are far too numerous to
mention, but a selection of them include “Bugle Call Rag” by
Benny Goodman and “Moonlight Cocktail” by Glenn Miller.
count is also very sizeable with titles such as Club Anthony by Ray Anthony, From the Big Band to the All Stars (1946-56) by Louis
Armstrong, 1931-1939 by Mildred
Bailey, Always in My Heart by Ray
Conniff, Havin’ Fun
by Bing Crosby, South Rampart Street
Parade by Bob Crosby, It’s
Magic by Doris Day, Together
by Tommy Dorsey, All My Life by
Ella Fitzgerald, 1945-1946: Vol. 6
by Dizzy Gillespie, Sing, Sing, Sing
by Benny Goodman, Farewell
Performances by Jerry Gray, Joe Haymes and His Orchestra: 1932-1936 by Joe Haymes, Bandstand
Memories: 1938 to 1948 by Harry James, High Noon by Frankie Laine, Miss
Wonderful by Peggy Lee, Young
Dino by Dean Martin, Studio
Recordings 1951-1953 by Billie May, Moonlight
Serenade by Glenn Miller, Rock It
For Me by Red Norvo, Who’s Excited by Artie Shaw, Vol. 3: 1939-1940 by Frank Sinatra, Yes Indeed by Jo Stafford, Songs
by Mel Torme, Black
Coffee by Sarah Vaughan, Queen of
Big Band Swing by Helen Ward and many movie soundtracks that include Dr.Zhivago, The Glenn Miller Story and West Side Story.
In the field
of musical education he was a much respected tutor for several trumpeters
that went on to gain their own recognition.
away in Irvine, California, after suffering complications from pneumonia when
he as 93 years old.