Sy Oliver

Sy Oliver’s sophisticated, melodic arrangements helped to define the Jimmy Lunceford sound of the 1930s. They also modernized Tommy Dorsey’s band in the 1940s. Oliver was a fine trumpeter, and an excellent vocalist. He recorded his debut in the late ’20s with Zack Whyte’s Chocolate Beau Brummels. Oliver joined Lunceford in 1933 and was responsible for many memorable charts, including “My Blue Heaven”, “Ain’t She Sweet,” Organ Grinder’s Swing” and “Tain’t what You Do.” Oliver took the opportunity to earn more money by arranging and singing for Tommy Dorsey, which was a huge blow to Lunceford. T.D. was greatly helped by Sy Oliver’s hiring. T.D. was able to recruit Buddy Rich into his band. Oliver’s arrangement of “On the Sunny Side of the Street”, was Dorsey’s biggest hit. Oliver was unsuccessful in his 1946 attempt to lead his own orchestra and he became a freelance arranger/producer for the rest of his long career. Although he continued to lead a band from 1975 to 1980, Sy Oliver is best remembered for his classic Lunceford charts. Allmusic

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