Rowland Bernard “Bunny” Berigan (November 2, 1908 – June 2, 1942) was an American jazz trumpeter who rose to fame during the Swing Era, but whose virtuosity and influence were shortened by a losing battle with alcoholism that ended in his early death at age 33. He played with several notable big bands include those led by the Dorsey Brothers, Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman. His solo on the Dorsey hit “Marie” became considered one of his signature performances. Berigan got the itch to lead his own band full-time and did so for about three years. Some of their records were equal in standard to the sides he cut with Goodman and Dorsey, but unfortunately they were never financially successful.
Fortunately for us, Bunny Berigan’s recordings still survive, and you can pick up some great tracks at Amazon.com mp3 downloads including some of my personal favorites off the Gangbusters album:
- Walking the Dog
- Button, Button
- Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
- Organ Grinder’s Swing
If you have any recordings of Benny Goodman in your own collection, I encourage you to listen to both of these artists back-to-back and notice some of the similarities in their musical styles.