Tony Pastor Biography

26 October 1907, Middletown, Connecticut, USA, d. 31 October 1969, Old Lyme, Connecticut, USA. As a teenager Pastor played tenor saxophone in a number of east coast-based bands, sometimes with Artie Shaw who was a neighbour. Pastor tried a hand at band leading in the early 30s but with limited success. In the middle of the decade he joined Shaw’s band, became one of its featured soloists and occasional singer. He appeared on a number of the band’s most popular records, including ‘Indian Love Call’ and ‘Rosalie’. After leaving Shaw he tried band leading again, this time with considerably more success. Thanks to a series of radio broadcasts the band became well known and sufficiently popular to survive the winter of 1947 that saw so many big bands fold. Among the singers he hired were the sisters Betty and Rosemary Clooney. Pastor continued leading a big band until the end of the 50s. In the 60s he led a small group at casinos in Nevada, singing in a group that also featured his three sons. A tough-toned soloist, Pastor always tried to give his band a strong jazz flavour while still keeping a careful eye on commercial needs.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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