In the middle and late 1940's reedman Jerry Jerome worked at
Apollo Records as an A&R man and led accompanying groups on sessions with
virtually the entire pop roster of that label: Eddie "Rochester" Anderson,
Dean Martin, Connie Boswell, Josh White, etc. He stayed with the label until
the recording ban of 1948 ended all recording of union musicians for a year,
leaving the public recitations, a cappella choirs, and harmonica groups (until
a record by accordionist Jerry Murad's Harmonicats sold so well that the union
finally had to recognize it as a musical instrument), etc.
Born in Brooklyn, June 19, 1912, Jerry Jerome's joined banjoist
Harry Reser's Eskimos in 1935 then went with Glenn Miller's first band in
`36 and `37 (Decca, Brunswick), then Red Norvo `37, Benny Goodman `38-'40;
ARTIE SHAW `40,'41 then was a staff conductor at NBC `41-'46 prior to his
Apollo gig. He returned to studio work in radio, TV and the record industry
during and after the ban, eventually retiring to Florida.
Among the surviving Apollo acetates are several messages recorded
by Jerome to be played by his children at pre-set times. One could be titled
Go To Bed , the other being Play Quietly. The first urged the
kids to go to bed. The other told the kids that mom and dad had been working
hard and late for Apollo Records and needed to sleep late.
When we talked with Jerry and mentioned the discs he got a kick
out of it. He was kind enough to give us some background on the label and
to confirm Yank Lawson's presence on the Bob Wallace sides, Delmark reissued
them on East Coast Jive (656), but didn't remember recording for the label
as a leader. We subsequently discovered that his date had been recorded for
a short-lived transcription firm and acquired by Apollo.)
Jerry also has fond memories of his sessions for Moe Asch's
Asch label, predecessor to Folkways.
Jerry did play in some Florida clubs in his retirement years but was more interested in golf in his last years. Hmm, wonder if he could beat another elder golfer, Sir Charles Thompson?
Jerry Jerome died in Sarasota on Nov. 17th at 89.
Thanks for everything. - Bob Koester