Music: What Was Called For

In 1937, Pennsylvania-bred Trumpeter Vaughn Monroe, fronting for a five-piece Boston society combo, was about as low on the bandleaders' register as a man could get. Now & then he would try to jolt his cocktail-and coming-out party patrons from their fox trot and rumba rut by booming Ave Maria or Glory Road in the aggressive baritone he was training for opera in his spare time. But mostly he gave them "what was called for—a hundred and twenty-eight beats to the minute—the debutante stuff and the businessman's bounce."

By last week Baritone Monroe had long since given up his operatic ambitions, was...

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