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31 October 2023

(Until 31 October)

Red Nichols and his 5 Pennies – Phantom Dancer 31 October 2023

Greg Poppleton's Phantom Dancer swing jazz radio show

Red Nichols was a cornetist, songwriter and band leader.

He is this week’s Phantom Dancer Feature artist.

The Phantom Dancer is your weekly non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV every week.

LISTEN to this week’s Phantom Dancer mix (online after 2pm AEST, Tuesday 31 October) and weeks of Phantom Dancer mixes online at, at https://2ser.com/phantom-dancer/

RED

Red Nichols was a child prodigy, playing difficult set pieces for his father’s brass band by the age of 12. He became strongly influenced by the early recordings of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and Bix Beiderbecke. His style was polished, clean, and incisive.

In the early 1920s, Nichols joined the Syncopating Seven, then he joined the Johnny Johnson Orchestra and in 1923 went with it to New York City. There he met trombonist Miff Mole. They recorded for Pathé-Perfect under the name the Red Heads.

Nichols could read music and easily gained studio work. In 1926, he and Mole began recording as Red Nichols and His Five Pennies, and recorded more than 100 sides for Brunswick. He also recorded as the Arkansas Travelers, the California Red Heads, the Louisiana Rhythm Kings, the Charleston Chasers, Red and Miff’s Stompers, and Miff Mole and His Little Molers. Sometimes, Nichols and his bands were recording 10 to 12 two-sided records a week.

In 1929, he appeared in the Vitaphone film short (above) with his band the Five Pennies along with Eddie Condon and Pee Wee Russell.

NICHOLS

Nichols’ band started with Mole on trombone and Jimmy Dorsey on alto saxophone and clarinet. Other musicians in his bands in the following decade included Benny Goodman (clarinet), Glenn Miller (trombone), Jack Teagarden (trombone), Pee Wee Russell (clarinet), Joe Venuti (violin), Eddie Lang (banjo and guitar), and Gene Krupa (drums).

The Five Pennies’ version of “Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider” sold over a million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America.

His composition “Nervous Charlie Stomp” was recorded by one of the top jazz bands of the 1920s, Fletcher Henderson’s orchestra.

His recording career stalled in 1932 when his trumpet style fell out of favour. However, the record labels he recorded for in the 1920s-30s included Pathe-Perfect, Brunswick, Edison 1926, Victor 1927, 1928, 1930, 1931, Bluebird 1934, 1939, back to Brunswick for a session in 1934, Variety 1937, and OKeh in 1940.

From 1932, Nichols’ played in show bands, pit orchestras and for radio transcriptions. He led Bob Hope’s radio orchestra and in the late 1930s played for Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra. He worked in a shipyard during World War 2.

After the war, Nichols formed another Five Pennies band and began playing in small clubs in Los Angeles. Club dates turned into performances at bigger venues and radio dates. He toured Europe as a goodwill ambassador for the State Department.

Nichols and his band performed in the 1950 film Quicksand starring Mickey Rooney. In 1956, he was the subject of an episode of the television program This Is Your Life in which he reunited with Miff Mole, Phil Harris and Jimmy Dorsey, who praised Nichols as a bandleader who ensured everyone was paid.

The 1959 Hollywood film The Five Pennies, the film biography of Red Nichols, starring Danny Kaye as Red Nichols, was loosely based on Nichols’ life and career. Nichols played his own cornet parts for the film and appeared briefly as one of the “Clicquot Club Eskimos” on screen. The Paramount Pictures movie received four Academy Award nominations. Louis Armstrong also appeared in the film. The Five Pennies movie theme song and other songs for the film were composed by Sylvia Fine, Danny Kaye’s wife.

Nichols also made cameo appearances in the 1951 film Disc Jockey with Tommy Dorsey, and The Gene Krupa Story in 1959.

His recording of “Poor Butterfly” is heard in the 1994 Woody Allen film Bullets Over Broadway and his recording of “(Back Home Again in) Indiana” in Allen’s 1999 film Sweet and Lowdown.

In 1965, Nichols took his Five Pennies band to the Mint Hotel in Las Vegas. On June 28, 1965, a few days after he began performing, he had chest pains while he was sleeping. He phoned the front desk. but when the ambulance arrived, he was dead. The band performed as scheduled with a spotlight on Nichols’ empty chair.

31 October PLAY LIST

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney
LISTEN ONLINE
Community Radio Network Show CRN #624

107.3 2SER Tuesday 31 October 2023
12:04 – 2:00pm (+11 hours GMT)
National Program
5UV Adelaide Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am
4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4am
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4am
2BRW Braidwood Monday 3 – 4am
2YYY Young Monday 3 – 4am
7RPH Hobart Monday 3 – 4pm
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Monday 3am – 4 and 6 -7pm
2MCE Bathurst Wednesday 9 – 10am
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Friday 10 – 11am
and Sunday 11pm
Reading Radio (QLD) Friday 1am – 2
2RRR Ryde Friday 11am – 12
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
5LCM Lofty FM Adelaide Friday 1 – 2pm
6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Saturday 4am – 5am
Denmark FM (West Australia) Saturday 10 – 11am
Repeat: Wednesdays 10 – 11pm
7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
3BBR West Gippsland Sunday 5 – 6pm
2SEA Sapphire Coast Eden Sunday 9 – 10pm

Set 1
Jack Barrow
Simple and Sweet (theme) + My Heart Stood Still
Jack Barrow Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Aragon Ballroom
Southgate Ca
AFRS Re-broadcast
1947
Zip-a-Dee-Do-Da + Sooner or Later
Jack Barrow Orchestra (voc) Dolores Crane
‘One Night Stand’
Aragon Ballroom
Southgate Ca
AFRS Re-broadcast
1947
Medley: Love is the Sweetest Thing + Dee[p Purple + Josephine
Jack Barrow Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Aragon Ballroom
Southgate Ca
AFRS Re-broadcast
1947
SundayJack Barrow Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Aragon Ballroom
Southgate Ca
AFRS Re-broadcast
1947
Set 2
John Coltrane
Afro-Blue
John Coltrane Quartet
‘Portraits in Jazz’
WABC FM NYC
26 Mar 1965
Set 3
Red Nichols
Turn On The Heat (theme) + Strike Up the Band + Alexander’s Ragtime Band
Red Nichols and his Five Pennies
‘Heat’
Radio Transcription
3 Aug 1930
Medley
Red Nichols and his Five Pennies
‘Brunswick Brevities’
Radio Transcription
27 Aug 1929
My Future Just Passsed + Oh, Baby!
Red Nichols and his Five Pennies
‘Heat’
Radio Transcription
2 Aug 1930
That’s A’Plenty + Say it With Music (theme)
Red Nichols and his Five Pennies
‘Brunswick Brevities’
Radio Transcription
27 Aug 1929
Set 4
Tommy Dorsey
I’ll Never Smile Again
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (voc) Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers
Canadian National Exposition
Toronto NBC
5 Sep 1940
Swing Time in Harlem
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (voc) Connie Haines
Canadian National Exposition
Toronto NBC
5 Sep 1940
East of the Sun
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (voc) Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers
Canadian National Exposition
Toronto NBC
5 Sep 1940
So What! + I’m Getting Sentimental Over You (theme)
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
Canadian National Exposition
Toronto NBC
5 Sep 1940
Set 5
Chamber Music
Open + Amapola
Henry Levine Dixieland Octet
‘Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street’
WJZ NBC Blue
11 Aug 1941
Jim
Paul Lavalle Woodwinds (voc) Diane Courtney
‘Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street’
WJZ NBC Blue
11 Aug 1941
The Peanut Vendor
Burt Shaefta (piano)‘Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street’
WJZ NBC Blue
11 Aug 1941
Bach Suite in Bb
Paul Lavalle Woodwinds
‘Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street’
WJZ NBC Blue
11 Aug 1941
Set 6
Bunny Berrigan
You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth + Kiss Me Again
Benny Berrigan Orchestra
Paradise Restaurant NYC
10 Apr 1938
I Can’t Get Started (theme) + Melacholy Baby
Benny Berrigan Orchestra
Aircheck
NYC
Jun 1939
A Stairway to the Stars
Benny Berrigan Orchestra
Paradise Restaurant NYC
3 May 1938
I Can’t Get Started (theme) + Sugar Foot Stomp
Benny Berrigan Orchestra
Aircheck
NYC
Jul 1939
Set 7
Trad Jazz
Gershwin Medley
Bobby Hackett (voc) Helen Ward
‘Eddie Condon Floor Show’
WNBT NBC TV NYC
16 Apr 1949
Basin street Blues + Ride, Red, Ride
Henry Red Allen and his Dxielanders (voc) Henry Red Allen‘Doctor Jazz’
Stuyvesant Casino
WMGM NYC
1951
Set 8
Modern Jazz
Moose the Mooche
Charlie Parker
Storeyville
Copley Square Hotel
WHDH Boston
22 Sep 1953
20th Century BluesSir Charles Thompson All-Stars
Comm Rec
NYC
4 Sep 1945
Groovin’ High
Charlie Parker
Storeyville
Copley Square Hotel
WHDH Boston
22 Sep 1953
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