Bregman, Buddy

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Bregman, Buddy

Bregman, Buddy, jazz/pop composer, arranger, conductor, TV and film producer, director, author; b. Chicago, July 9, c. 1937. He was from a well-to-do family. His mother’s brother is songwriter Jule Styne; another uncle was saxophone player Maurie Stein. Bregman studied piano and clarinet with Mossaiye Bogaslowski and Buck Wells at age 5 and 11 respectively. He wrote arrangements from age 11, inspired by listening to Herman, Kenton, and others. He went to college at UCLA at 15. While there, at age 17, a classmate’s father paid for a session and he had a hit with the Lieber & Stoller song, “I Need Your Lo vin7” (1954). Norman Granz heard the flip side “Bernie’s Tune/r and in 1956 asked Bregman to work for a new label he was starting, which would end up being Verve. Among Bregman’s first projects were two of the tracks from the album The Greatest with Count Basie and Joe Williams—”Come Rain or Come Shine” and “I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love with Me.” Among his best known albums are The Cole Porter Songbook and Rodgers and Hart Songbook—both double albums with Ella Fitzgerald—and Bing Crosby’s Bing Sings Whilst Bregman Swings; all of these eventually went platinum. At Verve, Bregman also worked with Fred Astaire, Oscar Peterson, and Anita O’Day. He arranged albums for Decca with Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr., and arranged for Bobby Darin at Atlantic. He also scored/orchestrated many major studio films, including Pajama Game, Crime in the Streets, and Secret of the Purple Reef. After his tenure at Verve, he concentrated on producing and directing in TV and films. He directed music for TV shows of Frank Sinatra, Ethel Merman, Victor Borge, and for Judy Garland’s U.S. tour. He produced and directed a series of TV specials in England, France, and Germany and worked for the BBC, directing series and major specials. He then wrote the Royal Shakespeare Company’s first stage musical, Jump Jim Crow. Upon his return to the U.S. in the 1980s, he continued to produce and direct for TV.


Swingin’ Kicks (1956); Dig Buddy Bregman in Hi Fi (1956); Swingin’ Standards (1959). A. O’Day: Rules of the Road (1993).

—Lewis Porter