Eddy Duchin and his Central Park Casino Orchestra
1932 – 1937
Although much has been written and documented about the history of jazz, and considerable attention devoted to the Swing era of the late Thirties and early Forties, the musical period that coincided with the worst years of the Great Depression – – – 1930 to 1935 – – – has been neglected. The flashy Duchin piano styling of that period, always up front to the extent that the band was often relegated to a supporting role, was a new and novel approach to music. The radio listeners of the time were captivated, especially by the Duchin crossed-hands technique of playing the melody of the bass keys. Listeners didn’t know how he did it, but they liked what they heard. Eddy’s success influenced other trends in the business. For one thing, a horde of imitators copied his style. Every town of fairly good size supported a Duchin-styled band – – – from fair to mediocre. And almost overnight the airwaves were flooded by bands with piano playing leaders – – Henry King, Joe Reichman, Nat Brandwynne, Dick Gasparre, Little Jack Little, just to mention a few of the most popular. Even Chico Marx fronted a band. It was a trend that still lingers on in the format of trios and quartets. As popular as Eddy Duchin became – – in many ways he typified a musical era- – he has been neglected and forgotten of recent years, but as these recordings demonstrate, he left behind a worthwhile musical heritage, and one well worth preserving.