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I’ll bet you will get a response on the many Facebook pages dedicated to
Big Bands etc

Or try digging deep into YouTube.

Dave R

On Tue, Oct 26, 2021 at 5:11 PM ANONYMOUS USER <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I have been researching any and all institutions for recordings that were
> made by my great-grandfather, Caleb O’Connor. He was a guitarist, banjo
> player, arranger, and even a bandleader at one point in the early 1930s. He
> got his start at what he described as “connector places” in Connecticut,
> such as the Ritz Ballroom in Bridgeport, CT and the Roger Sherman Ballroom
> in New Haven. He was a native of New Haven. I’m not exactly sure what the
> timeline is, but he claimed that he played with Mal Hallet and his
> orchestra. I have not been able to find his name on any records, or written
> down elsewhere. He went by the nickname “Kay” O’Connor in those days. He
> was also in a banjo duo with a friend named Bill White, who went on to
> perform in Europe. I have not found anything on his friend Bill. He went to
> the University of Alabama with Bill White in 1930, and became very involved
> with music at that time. He was a member of the university Glee Club, which
> later promoted him and his friend’s banjo duo to travel and give concerts
> throughout the Southern U.S. I have not found anything that may have been
> recorded by the two while they were on the road. They called themselves in
> concert the “Banjo Buddies”. A notable performance by them was for the Miss
> America Show of 1933, which was held at the Poli Palace theatre in
> Bridgeport, CT. In 1932 or 1933, Caleb started his own band, which he named
> after himself: Kay’s Commander’s. They played at fraternity and sorority
> gatherings, and some band members that went onto become famous musicians
> were: Moe Zudicoff aka Buddy Morrow, Al Klink (played with Glenn Miller),
> and Jerry Jerome (Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman). I cannot locate a
> recording of this band. By the 1940s, Caleb was working in Hartford, CT at
> either the Hotel Bond or the State Theatre, or both. At this time, about
> 1941, Charlie Barnet came to play at the State Theatre, where he met Caleb
> and apparently asked him to be his guitarist after his original player was
> in a car accident. He was doing more arranging for bands at this time, and
> according to a 1943 article, arranged the tune “Dark Forest” for the Buddy
> James orchestra. I have searched, but cannot find a recording by ‘Buddy
> James’ or of this song, by any band. The only other song I can name is
> titled “Each Time I Close My Eyes”, which Caleb wrote before departing for
> the Army in 1943. I have sought out a recording of this as well. His
> musical activities after the war were less frequent, but he still was
> arranging into the mid 1970s. He made one last arrangement for Middlebury
> College in Vermont, before donating his music library, and who knows if
> there were records…probably.
>
> I have searched audio archives, from the Library of Congress to Discogs,
> and have contacted the University of Alabama, Middlebury College, etc.
> Nothing. Unfortunately, all that music that got donated (and now lost) was
> valuable to somebody, his grandson. Any help finding records is
> appreciated, and if you have a relative that may have known Caleb, I’d love
> to hear their story.
>
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