Composer, Arranger, Bandleader, Pianist, Musical Director
Paul Weston led a band at Dartmouth, and after graduating with honors, he worked as an arranger for Rudy Vallee’s radio show. He joined Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra in 1936, and in 1940 Bob Crosby brought him to Hollywood to arrange for his band, featured in brother Bing’s film Holiday Inn.
In 1942 Weston joined fledgling Capitol Records as musical director. With his orchestra he pioneered “mood music.” His 1944 album, Music for Dreaming, featured romantic tunes, lush strings, a big band feel, and noted jazz soloists. He also recorded with the top vocalists of the day, including Jo Stafford, whom he married in 1952. In 1950 he went to Columbia Records and had his own radio show in 1951-52. During his tenure at both labels some two dozen of his recordings made it into the top ten, some of them million-sellers.
In 1954 he began work in television and throughout the ‘50s, as Musical Director for NBC-TV, he worked for many of the major shows, from specials to comedies. As a freelancer, he backed Ella Fitzgerald on her Irving Berlin Songbook in 1958. He and Stafford recorded several satirical records as Jonathan and Darlene Edwards--he as the inept pianist and she as the off-key singer. They won a Grammy for Best Comedy Album in 1960. In 1963 he settled down for four years with the Danny Kaye Show followed by stints with Jonathan Winters and Jim Nabors.
As well as being an in-demand arranger, Weston was also a composer of classical, religious and popular music. In 1945, with Axel Stordahl and Sammy Cahn, he wrote “Day by Day” and “I Should Care.” And in collaboration with Paul Mason Howard, “Shrimp Boats” became a pop hit for Stafford in 1951 and “Gandy Dancers Ball” for Frankie Laine in 1952.
-- Sandra Burlingame
Courtesy of JazzStandards.com