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MATT DENNIS  

(1914 - 2002)

Composer, Pianist, Vocalist, Arranger, Musical Director

Matt Dennis came from a vaudeville family and nurtured his musical talents in multiple directions. In 1933, when only 19, he signed with Horace Heidt’s band as pianist/vocalist. He developed his own popular lounge act and performed around the Los Angeles area in the ‘30s and ‘40s.

He gained a reputation arranging for other vocalists and, on the recommendation of Jo Stafford, became composer/arranger for Tommy Dorsey’s band in 1940. Dorsey performed over a dozen of Dennis’ songs, all composed with lyricist Tom Adair. “Will You Still Be Mine?” and “Let’s Get Away from It All” (1940), “The Night We Called It a Day,” “Everything Happens to Me,” and “Violets for Your Furs” (1941) became hits for Dorsey’s vocalist, Frank Sinatra, who would later take “Angel Eyes,” written with Earl Brent in 1946, to the charts in 1953.

After service in WWII and a brief stint with the Glenn Miller Band, Dennis became musical director for vocalist Dick Haymes’ radio show, made nightclub appearances, and recorded under his own name. He was a guest on several TV shows, hosted his own program on local television, and during the summer of 1955 had a show on NBC-TV.

An accomplished jazz pianist, Dennis wrote two tutorials, Introduction to the Blues and You Can Teach Yourself Piano, designed to teach as well as to encourage improvisation.

Interestingly, a 2003 CD release by Mark Winkler, …Sings Bobby Troup, has turned up a 1984 collaboration with Matt Dennis, “Learn to Love,” a never-before-recorded ballad.

-- Sandra Burlingame

Courtesy of JazzStandards.com

Role: Non-Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
ADDERLEY, Cannonball: Live in '63 (NTSC) Naxos
2.119009
Jazz DVD
CHARLIE MARIANO SEXTET: Avant-Garde Alto from the Back Bay (1953) Naxos Jazz Archives
9.81142JZ
Jazz
DOMNERUS, Arne: Jazz at the Pawnshop Prophone
PRCD7778
Contemporary Jazz
FITZGERALD, Ella: Live in '57 and '63 (NTSC) TDKDVD
DVWW-JIEF
Jazz DVD
FITZGERALD, Ella: Lullaby Of Birdland (1947-1954) Naxos Jazz Legends
8.120774
Jazz
GARNER, Erroll: Erroll Garner Plays Misty (1953-1954) Naxos Jazz Legends
8.120771
Jazz
GARNER, Erroll: Standards (1945-1949) Naxos Jazz Legends
8.120661
Jazz
HERMAN, Woody: Get Your Boots Laced Papa! (1938-1943) Naxos Jazz Legends
8.120658
Jazz
JANSSON, Lars: What's New Prophone
PCD109
Contemporary Jazz
KENTON, Stan: MacGregor Transcriptions, Vol. 2 (1941-1942) Naxos Jazz Legends
8.120518
Jazz
LADIES ONLY - Classics Naxos
8.520030
Chamber Music
Ladies Only Cafe Strings: Angel Eyes Naxos
8.557177
Chamber Music
LEE, Peggy: It's a Good Day (1941-1950) Naxos Jazz Legends
8.120642
Jazz
LOST TAPES - Baker, Chet (Early Chet - Chet Baker in Germany, 1955-1959) SWR Jazzhaus
101752
Jazz
LOST TAPES - Baker, Chet (Early Chet - Chet Baker in Germany, 1955-1959) SWR Jazzhaus
JAH-452
Jazz
LOST TAPES - Hipp, Jutta (1952-1955) SWR Jazzhaus
101723
Jazz
LOST TAPES - Hipp, Jutta (1952-1955) SWR Jazzhaus
JAH-423
Jazz
PARKER, Charlie: Mellow Bird (1949-1952) Naxos Jazz Legends
8.120700
Jazz




 
 
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