[Dixielandjazz] Whiteman? How about Lawrence Welk?

RICHARD SHOOK dixbarn at sbcglobal.net
Tue Jan 22 12:54:52 PST 2013

My father was a grand Welk fan - used to drive me crazy when I was young and 
hip, always calling me in to watch the Lawrence Welk show. BUT - I at that age 
tended to put down the general musicianship rather than recognize their choice 
to play to a certain audience. Does anyone remember the show when the Welk band 
played all the charts from an Album Woody Herman did called "My Kind of 
Broadway" (if I remember the title correctly)? The arrangements were all by 
members of Woody's band, and there was some swinging stuff. I was re-educated by 
that particular Welk show - they played the heck out of Woody's charts, sounding 
wonderful. They were a tight, swinging band with great soloists. 

One of Welk's arrangers and pianists, Frank Scott came from my home town (Fargo 
ND) - he moved back and put together a big band that I played in. Somewhat 
Welkish, but a bit more relaxed and swinging. Frank told me he would every once 
in a while put in a swinging shout chorus in one of his arrangements for 
Lawrence, and Lawrence would invariably say, "Great chart! Great chart! . . .  
But there's a part right in the middle there I'd like you to rewrite . . ."

So, could Whiteman's orchestra swing? I don't doubt it. Did they very often? 
That's a different question.

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