πŸ‘€ PROFILE: “BILLY MAY”

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BILLY MAY

On November 10, 1916, Billy May was born. He was an amazing and vitalist musician whose arrangements Frank would say are like a bucket of ice water in the face. I think he defined it perfectly. Billy is one of those disarming talents, capable of mentally writing dazzling arrangements for a song while listening to it for the first time and, after the session, dressed in his wrinkled shirt and dirty pants, go on a merciless party and drink even the antifreeze in his Cadillac.

Billy began playing trumpet and arranging for bandleaders Charlie Barnet, Glenn Miller and Les Brown before working as an arranger for NBC radio. In the late 1940s he maintained a close relationship with the Capitol Records label, writing arrangements for Paul Weston and serving as musical director for many of the label’s leading artists.

In 1951 May formed a band whose sound gained recognition thanks to the novel saxophone “glissando.”
May’s arrangements are full of sophistication and humor, with permanent surprises and winks that keep you attentive and involved in the songs.

Frank Sinatra and Billy May’s first LP, “Come Fly With Me,” is a true slice of heaven. Billy wrote the arrangements for the title track in the four hours before the recording session, and his sparkling, fresh spirituality vibrates with the same force with which it was born, in 1957.

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