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Saturday, 11 February 2017

Matt Dennis born 11 February 1914


Matt Dennis (February 11, 1914 – June 21, 2002) was an American singer, pianist, band leader, arranger, and writer of music for popular music songs. 

Born Matthew Loveland Dennis, he learned to play the piano at a young age.. His father was a singer and his mother a violinist, and the family business was a vaudeville act. There he made his debut as one of "The Five Musical Lovelands." In 1933, he joined the Horace Heidt orchestra as piano player and vocalist. Several years later, he formed a band with Dick Haymes, one of the great popular baritones of the time. Haymes fronted the band, but Matt Dennis was the musical brain behind it. At the same time, he was building a reputation as an arranger for popular singers.  

He worked as arranger, accompanyist and vocal coach for Martha Tilton, and helped out a new group that had recently formed called The Stafford Sisters. One of the sisters was named Jo, and in 1940, she when she had joined the Tommy Dorsey Band, she convinced TD to hire Matt as staff arranger-composer. Dennis wrote prolifically, with 14 of his songs recorded by the Dorsey band in one year alone, including "Everything Happens to Me", an early hit for Frank Sinatra. 

During his service in WWII, Dennis did radio work and arranged music for Glenn Miller's AAF Orchestra, among others. After four years in the United States Air Force in World War II, Dennis returned to music writing and arranging, getting a boost from his old friend Dick Haymes, who hired him to be the music director for his radio program. He also recorded a few sides with Paul Weston & His Orchestra for Capitol Records.
 

 
                                  

Dennis' chief collaborator was lyricist Tom Adair, and his best-known tunes include "Will You Still Be Mine?," "Let's Get Away from It All," "Everything Happens to Me" (1941), and "Angel Eyes" (1953), but he also penned "We Belong Together," "We've Reached the Point of No Return," and "You Can Believe Me." 

Dennis did a series of recordings for the Glendale, RCA, Jubilee, and Kapp labels. HE made six albums, which were out of print for many years; however, his 1953 song "Angel Eyes" (with lyricist Earl Brent) has become a frequently recorded jazz standard; less frequently recorded, but notably by Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins is "Will You Still Be Mine". Pianist Dave Brubeck and his quartet recorded an entire album of Dennis's compositions, released as Angel Eyes in 1965.

A popular singer and jazz pianist in the '40s, '50s and '60s in Los Angeles area clubs and restaurants such as the Encore, the Tally-Ho and the Lighthouse, Dennis had his own local TV shows on KTTV and KHJ in the early 1950s, and in 1955 was a summer replacement for Eddie Fisher on NBC-TV with "The Matt Dennis Show." 

For the next couple of decades Dennis kept working in radio and then TV, while often hitting the nightclub circuit, but by the late 1960s he was beginning to wind down toward what would be a long retirement. He died in a hospital in Riverside, California at the age of 88.

 
In 2012, Jasmine Records re-released four of Dennis' records as "Welcome Matt". The collection included "Plays and Sings Matt Dennis", a 1958 live performance by Dennis' piano trio, of twelve tunes that Dennis had co-authored. 
 
(Inf mainly edited from Wikioedia & All Music)

Matt Dennis sings his "Violets For Your Furs," written in 1941 for Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra. This 1957 clip is from "The Rosemary Clooney Show."


4 comments:

boppinbob said...

For “Matt Dennis – 4 Albums on 2CD’s” go here:

Disc 1 - https://www.sendspace.com/file/y5wse2

PLAYS AND SINGS

1. WILL YOU STILL BE MINE
2. JUNIOR AND JULIE
3. THE NIGHT WE CALLED IT A DAY
4. WE BELONG TOGETHER with Virginia Maxey
5. ANGEL EYES
6. VIOLETS FOR YOUR FURS
7. EVERYTHING HAPPENS TO ME
8. COMPARED TO YOU
9. THAT TIRED OLD ROUTINE
10. IT WASN'T THE STARS THAT THRILLED ME
11. WHEN YOU LOVE A FELLA with Virginia Maxey
12. LET'S GET AWAY FROM IT ALL

THE SONGS OF RODGERS & HART

13. DANCING ON THE CEILING
14. MIMI
15. NOBODY'S HEART
16. BLUE MOON
17. ISN'T IT ROMANTIC
18. I MARRIED AN ANGEL
19. MOUNTAIN GREENERY
20. GIVE HER A KISS
21. WAIT 'TIL YOU SEE HER
22. I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TIME IT WAS
23. THIS FUNNY WORLD
24. HAVE YOU SEEN MISS JONES?


Disc 2 - https://www.sendspace.com/file/xdmnl2

DENNIS, ANYONE?

1 WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
2. THE LAND OF DANGER
3. OLD UNCLE FUD
4. RELAX
5. I'M THE BOY WHO TAKES HER HOME
6. DEVIL TALK
7. THAT'S HOW CLOSE I WANT TO BE TO YOU
8. TOO LATE FOR LOVE
9. ENCHANTED MEMORY
10. A THOUSAND YEARS AGO
11. BLESS YOU, LITTLE SLEEPYHEAD
12. SHOW ME THE WAY TO GET OUT OF THIS WORLD (Cause That's Where Everything Is)

WELCOME MATT DENNIS

13. SHOW ME THE WAY TO GO HOME
14. YOU MAKE ME FEEL AT HOME
15. BY THE FIRESIDE
16. YOU'D BE SO NICE TO COME HOME TO
17. BACK IN YOUR OWN BACK YARD
18. WELCOME MAT
19. HOME
20. MY BLUE HEAVEN
21. YOUR FAMILY
22. CHEEK TO CHEEK
23. A CUP OF COFFEE A SANDWICH AND YOU
24. LET'S PUT OUT THE LIGHTS

Matt Dennis was a man of many musical talents. More than half of the 48 tracks on offer here are his own compositions and he supplies some wonderful vocal and piano arrangements.

Features many of his popular songs including several of his biggest successes such as: 'Everything Happens To Me', 'Let's Get Away From It All' and 'Violets For Your Furs'.

Matt Dennis hasn't been seen on CD too often but I think you'll agree that this is a fantastic collection. For the uninitiated you may pick this up just because you simply know some of the songs on the set rather than the man himself, but we don't think it will be long before you say 'Welcome Matt Dennis'. (Jasmine notes)

Pudge said...

Judging from your notes, this will be a great listen. Thanks for your work in sharing.

David Federman said...

God bless you for this. That kinescope of Matt singing "Violets for Your Furs" brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for the loving honors you have bestowed on so many.

Days of Broken Arrows said...

Cool stuff. I know him, like a lot of others, from the Dennis-Adair songs Frank Sinatra did. Not a bad one in the bunch!