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John Bunch Audio Recordings

 Collection
Identifier: JC.2015.04

Scope and Contents

The John Bunch Audio Recordings include audio recordings of Bunch’s performances and sessions from 1937 to 2009 with musicians such as, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Urbie Green, and many others. Also included are audio recordings of radio interviews, and an appearance on NBC’s Today Show in 1961. The original numbering of cassettes, and spellings of names and titles were retained from audio recording labels

Dates

  • 1937 - 2009

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection at Kemp Library, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Biographical / Historical

John Bunch was born in Tipton, Indiana on December 1, 1921, and began studying piano when he was eleven. By the age twelve he was already playing in local clubs, eager to be part of the jazz scene. Early influences include Fats Waller, Bud Powell and Teddy Wilson. During World War II he served in the United States Army Air Corps and wrote his first musical arrangement while playing in a band as a prisoner-of-war. Upon returning home, he enrolled in the University of Indiana, under the G. I. Bill, completing a degree in Speech in 1950. Music was a strong avocation during this decade, occupying weekend gigs with local players.

His musical career truly began in the late 1950’s, as he played with the big bands of Georgie Auld, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, and Maynard Ferguson. As a member of these groups he remained an anonymous presence. These early associations would later lead to recognition, responsibility, and world travel.

A move to New York City in the late 1950’s, caused him to broaden his talents. He focused on the intimate club scene, playing in trios and quartets with Urbie Green, Buddy Rich, Al Cohn, and Zoot Sims, and Wild Bill Davidson. He also began recording with various performers and with the Buddy Rich Orchestra.

In 1962, Benny Goodman invited John to the USSR, as part of a diplomatic tour organized by the State Department. The famous clarinetist also asked Bunch to join his orchestra on tours of Mexico and Europe.

Tony Bennett needed a music director in 1966. In this position Bunch played and directed at such notable venues as Carnegie Hall and the White House. Performances in Japan, Australia, England, and other parts of Europe were also part of this period. In the 1990’s Bunch formed his own trio, New York Swing, which included Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar and Jay Leonhart on bass. They played at many New York Clubs and on the S. S. Norway Cruise Line.

He died on March 30, 2010 in New York City, survived by his wife, Cecily “Chips” Gemmell.

Extent

3.25 Linear Feet (4 boxes of audiocassettes, 3 boxes of dubs of audiocassettes on compact discs, 12 LPs )

Language of Materials

English

Overview

The John Bunch Audio Recordings include audio recordings of Bunch’s performances and sessions from 1937 to 2009 with musicians such as, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Urbie Green, and many others. Also included are audio recordings of radio interviews, and an appearance on NBC’s Today Show in 1961. The collection documents John Bunch’s musical career.

Arrangement

The materials were separated into three series: audiocassettes, compact discs, and LPs. The cassettes were numbered primarily in chronological order. The compact discs in box five were arranged in chronological order, as well. It appears that John Bunch numbered all but two of the LPs. Since most of the recordings had no formal titles, the title column contains either the bandleader’s name, or some other identifying information. Song titles are included in the finding aid only for the LPs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts from John and Chips Bunch

Separated Materials

Commercial audio recordings to the Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection audio recordings (separate list of recordings is available)

Music fake books and folios to the Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection songbook collection (separate list is available)

Papers, scores, negatives, photographs, and slides separated and identified as John Bunch Papers, JC.2015.03
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid written by ESU faculty and staff
Date
April 2015
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection Repository

Contact:
East Stroudsburg University
200 Prospect Street
Kemp Library
East Stroudsburg PA 18301
570-422-3594