Available languages: EnglishWhile his name might be more suited to a professional wrestler, Nat Brusiloff's occupation involved much gentler things, such as playing the violin and leading orchestras. He was the house conductor for the CBS network beginning in the early '30s, and enjoyed a lengthy stint as the musical director for Kate Smith, a hefty singer who looked like she could fend off a few attackers in the wrestling ring as well. The music Brusiloff created as the leader of his own orchestras, usually numbering around a dozen or so members, remains buried away on various rare transcription discs. The trombonist David Sager, a Dixieland and classic jazz player who is Brusiloff's great nephew, has been attempting to shed more light on his relative's activity by creating special radio presentations of early-'30s Brusiloff recordings such as "Cheer Up," "I'm Satisfied With You" and "Rolling in Love," culled from his own collection of memorabilia. Sager has also given lectures on his great uncle's career at the Library of Congress. Brusiloff did some composing during the early '30s as well, appearing, for example, as a co-writer of the sentimental ballad "Kentucky Lullaby" along with Joe Davis, who actually died in Kentucky, and Arthur Ray, who has nothing to do with Kentucky at all. Brusiloff was one of the first of the rosin-encrusted hired hands called when performers wanted to expand their orchestration to include strings, such as the late '20s recordings of the Dorsey Brothers. Another outfit he worked with only on recordings that is worthy of rediscovery is the intriguing Dr. Eugene Ormandy's Salon Orchestra, combining classical musicians such as the leader with the more jazz inclined noodling of players such as guitarist Eddie Lang, tuba player Hank Stern and drummer Chauncey Morehouse. This group's recordings were released on labels such as Okeh and Parlophone, although not always under a name anyone would recognize. The latter label put out sides by this group under pseudonyms such as Ed Lloyd and His Orchestra and Will Perry's Orchestra. In the '50s, Brusiloff relocated to Tucson, AZ, where beside the swaying cactuses, he led a new orchestra for a time that also featured former dance band leader Francis Grinnell.
© Eugene Chadbourne /TiVo
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