15 March 1916, Albany, Georgia, USA, d. 5 July 1983, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Harry James father played trumpet in the band of a touring circus, and at first Harry played the drums, but then he, too, took up the trumpet and at the age of nine was also playing in the circus band. He showed such enormous promise that his father had soon taught him everything he knew. Harry left the circus and played with various bands in Texas before joining Ben Pollack in 1935. Early in 1937 James was hired by Benny Goodman, an engagement that gave him maximum exposure to swing era audiences. Heavily featured with Goodman and, with Ziggy Elman and Chris Griffin, forming part of a powerful and exciting trumpet section, James quickly became a household name. He remained with Goodman a little under two years, leaving to form his own big band. James popularity increased and his public image, aided by his marriage to film star Betty Grable, reached remarkable heights for a musician....
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