Sam Donahue

Genres: Jazz

Biography

8 March 1918, Detroit, Michigan, USA, d. 22 March 1974, Reno, Nevada, USA. Among the most respected of swing era musicians, tenor saxophonist Donahue formed his first group in the mid-30s, leaving Sonny Burke as leader when he later joined Gene Krupa’s band. In the early 40s he played with Harry James and Benny Goodman. He returned to leading his old group again but in 1942 was drafted into the US Navy. When Artie Shaw was discharged from military service in 1944, Donahue took over Shaw’s navy band. In the next two years he built it into a first-class swinging unit, much admired by musicians and fans alike. After the war, Donahue formed a new unit, hiring many of his former service personnel, which he led during the uneasy commercial decline of big bands. He worked in other bands, including those of Stan Kenton, Billy May and Tommy Dorsey. In 1961, five years after the latter’s death, Donahue became leader of the official Tommy Dorsey orchestra,...

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