Elman, Ziggy


Trumpet player and bandleader, his 1939 big band’s recording of his composition “And The Angels Sing” was #1 in the US!


Autograph ID: 6922
Condition: Good, some toning at edges not as dark as image shows
Description: “(b. Harry A. Finkelman, 1914-1968) American jazz trumpeter associated with Benny Goodman, also led his group Ziggy Elman and His Orchestra.

He began playing for Jewish weddings and nightclubs in Atlantic City at 15. In 1932 made his first recording, playing trombone. At some point in the decade he adopted the name “Ziggy Elman”. In 1936 he joined the Benny Goodman orchestra as a trumpet player after playing briefly with a local big band at Atlantic City’s Steel Pier where Goodman heard him and was impressed.

His composition “And the Angels Sing”, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, was recorded Dec. 1938 by his own band as an instrumental, “Frailach in Swing”, based on the 1918 recording of “Der Shtiller Bulgar” (“The Quiet Bulgar”, by Abe Schwartz)  and became the #1 song in the nation. In 1956 he was asked to recreate his famous klezmer solo along with original vocalist Martha Tilton, for the film, “The Benny Goodman Story”. Elman was unable to play as his technique had since withered away. He appeared performing it in the film, but trumpeter Manny Klein played the solo on the soundtrack.

After his work with Goodman, Elman joined Tommy Dorsey’s band and also played as a member of the military during WW II. He loved frailach (klezmer) music and made a few recordings of such with Mickey Katz (father of actor Joel Grey, grandfather of actress Jennifer Grey). From 1940-47 he was honored in Down Beat magazine’s Readers Poll 6 times and led his own bands from 1947. By the 1950s, big bands had declined and for a time he switched to entertainment work and appeared in films mostly as himself. In 1956 he had a heart attack, ending his music career. By the end of the 1950s he was financially ruined and worked for a car dealership. In 1961 it was revealed at an alimony hearing that he was virtually bankrupt. He later worked in a music store and taught trumpet to up-and-coming musicians.

In person signed 4 ½ x 6 blue-green vintage autograph album page, ca. early-mid 1950s.”

Type: Signed album page

Product Search

Product categories

Quick Links