Spivak, Charlie (actually, Charles)

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Spivak, Charlie (actually, Charles)

Spivak, Charlie (actually, Charles ), popular jazz trumpeter, leader; b. Kiev, Ukraine, Feb. 17, 1907; d. Greenville, S.C., March 1, 1982. Spivak was brought to the U.S. as an infant and raised in New Haven, Conn. He began on trumpet at the age of 10, and played in the Hill House H.S. Band. After gigging with the local Paragon Band, he joined Don Cavallaro’s Orch. He worked mainly with Paul Specht from summer of 1924 until 1930, then with Ben Pollack (1931–34), and with the Dorsey Brothers from late 1934 until spring 1935, when he joined Ray Noble. Spivak did two years’ studio work (including a spell with Raymond Scott’s Radio Band), then worked with Bob Crosby from January until August 1938. He was with Tommy Dorsey from August 1938 until c. June 1939, then left to work as a trumpeter/straw boss with Jack Teagarden’s Band. In November 1939, Spivak left to form his own band, which made its debut in St. Paul with backing from Glenn Miller. They disbanded a year or so later, and Spivak subsequently took over Bill Downer’s Band. With this new line-up, he gradually established the band as one of the major commercial successes of the 1940s, featured in many films. He had hits through that decade with arrangements by Sonny Burke, Jimmy Mundy, and Nelson Riddle. The vocal group The Star-dusters were part of his unit, and soloists included Dave Tough and Willie Smith. Spivak moved to Fla. in the 1950s, and continued to lead a band until suffering a serious illness in 1963. Once recovered, he led a bands in Las Vegas and Miami. In late 1960s, he settled in Greenville, S.C., where he continued to lead a band at local clubs through the mid-1970s.


Uncollected Charlie Spivak & His Band (1943); For Sentimental Reasons (1947).


C. Garrod, Charlie Spivak and His Orch. (Spotswood, N.J.).

—John Chilton , Who’s Who of Jazz/Music Master Jazz and Blues Catalogue/Lewis Porter