In this book you will find an astounding 400 biographies that highlight the history and personnel of the great bands. It is organized into four sections: “The Big Bands — Then” (the scene, the leaders, the public, the musicians, vocalists, arrangers and businessmen, recordings, radio, movies and the press); “Inside the Big Bands” (profiles of 72 top bands); “Inside More of the Big Bands” (hundreds of additional profiles arranged by categories (“The Arranging Leaders,” “The Horn-playing Leaders,” etc.); and “The Big Bands Now.”
The Big Bands is one of the best books on the subject. It is both readable and an invaluable reference source for the study of jazz standards since many were written by big band leaders or musicians or were popularized through their performances and recordings. The index is comprehensive with names but lists no songs.
George T. Simon was one of the original organizers and members of the Glenn Miller Orchestra for which he played the drums. He was also one of the first writers for Metronome Magazine where he remained from 1935 until 1955.