Gray (Knoblaugh), Glen

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Gray (Knoblaugh), Glen

Gray (Knoblaugh), Glen, pop-jazz saxophonist and leader; b. Roanoke, III, June 7, 1906; d. Plymouth, Mass., Aug. 23, 1963. He studied at 111. Wesleyan Coll., but left and began playing local gigs. He played with a Detroit- based Jean Goldkette unit called the Orange Blossom Band. The band moved to take up a residency at the Casa Loma Hotel, Toronto. The band began to tour; while in N.Y. it was registered as The Casa Loma Orch. Inc. (1929). Gray was elected president of the company; he continued to play saxophone while Mel Jenssen fronted the band. Its underrated arrangements, especially those by Will Hudson, were highly regarded; they were recorded by Fletcher Henderson and others. From 1937 Gray fronted the band; he retired from touring (1950), but occasionally organized groups to re-record material associated with the band (from 1956). Alumni of his groups include Herb Ellis, Red Nichols, and Bobby Hackett. The original band appeared in the film Girls Inc. (1943).


Uncollected G. G. & The Casa Loma Band (1939); Hoagy Carmichael Songs (1950).

—John Chilton, Who’s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter