A NOTE TO BLOG VISITORS: I am happy to announce that I and my webmaster Dylan Atkinson, after much hard work, have finally completed the transfer of data on this website to a Word Press/blog platform. That will make it infinitely easier for me to post new content, and will make it possible for you to post your comments. I have begun posting recordings of Bunny Berigan’s music in crystal-clear sound on this blog, along with photos and my commentary. So keep checking this website because some great things are coming.
This blog will eventually become the go-to place for all Berigan aficionados to find his music in the best sound possible, as many historic images as I can find (with accurate captions), and as much information about Bunny as I can post, after I have rigorously cross-checked as many sources as possible about that information.
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Mr. Trumpet …The Trials, Tribulations and Triumph of Bunny Berigan by Michael P. Zirpolo
A biography of the jazz trumpeter Roland Bernard “Bunny” Berigan (1908-1942), by Michael P. Zirpolo, was published on October 1, 2011, by Scarecrow Press as a part of its “Studies in Jazz” series, in conjunction with the Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University. Its title is: Mr. Trumpet…The Trials, Tribulations, and Triumph of Bunny Berigan.
The story of Berigan’s life resembles an ancient Greek tragedy: a heroic figure rises from obscurity to dizzying heights, touches greatness, becomes ensnared by circumstances, some beyond his control, others of his own making, and comes to a disastrous early end. Berigan was very much a man of his time and place, and was intimately involved in the commercial music/dance band/show business milieu of the 1930s and ’40s in New York City and the eastern United States, where he worked. The story of his life necessarily includes an examination of the part of jazz history that is now known as the “Swing Era.” Berigan was a charismatic performer, one of the relatively few musicians in the history of jazz to advance the art. His trumpet artistry made a deep and lasting impression on almost everyone who heard him play. The body of recorded work he left continues to evoke a wide range of emotions in those who hear it.
This biography is an analysis of the life of Bunny Berigan that sets his story in the fullest possible context, and explains many heretofore misunderstood events in both Berigan’s life, and in the Swing Era. The structure of the book is strictly chronological. That allows for an organic development of the exposition of the events of Berigan’s life that can be easily followed and understood by a reader, even one with little or no knowledge of the music and musicians of the Swing Era. There are numerous explanations of Berigan’s music in the book which are as non-technical as possible so they can be understood by the lay reader. Also included are appendices containing lists of all known broadcast/transcription recordings made by Bunny Berigan during the years he led his own bands (1936-1942). Many of these recordings have never been released commercially. There is also an appendix devoted to an explanation of Berigan’s soundtrack recordings for the film Syncopation (1942). The book contains many photos that have never been published previously.
Those having questions about this book can contact the author at: email@example.com