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The Band Museum

Charlie Spivak
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Charlie Spivak's Photo Gallery
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Click here to see photographs of Charlie Spivak.

The following is a brief biography of Charlie Spivak from the All Music Guide:

Despite coming up in the jazz world and spending his life around jazz musicians, Charlie Spivak rarely improvised and was most notable for his pretty tone. He moved to the U.S. with his family as a small child and grew up in New Haven, Connecticut. Spivak began playing trumpet when he was ten, gigged locally as a teenager and worked with Don Cavallaro's Orchestra.

During most of 1924-30 he was with Paul Specht's Orchestra, primarily playing section parts where his tone was an asset. Spivak was cast in the same role with Ben Pollack (1931-34), the Dorsey Brothers (1934-35) and Ray Noble. He worked in the studios during most of 1936-37 and then had stints with the orchestras of Bob Crosby, Tommy Dorsey and Jack Teagarden.

Spivak formed his own band in November 1939 (financed by Glenn Miller) and, although his first orchestra failed within a year, his second attempt shortly after was more successful; in fact Charlie Spivak became a major attraction throughout the 1940's and he kept his band together until 1959.

Spivak lived in later years in Florida, Las Vegas and South Carolina, putting together orchestras on a part-time basis, staying semi-active up until his death at the age of 75. Among his better recordings were his theme "Let's Go Home," "Autumn Nocturne" and "Star Dreams." Charlie Spivak, who recorded as late as 1981, was married to singer Irene Daye (who was formerly with Gene Krupa's Orchestra).

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Curator’s Notes:

Copy of an email sent by Jim Bell on how he acquired Charlie Spivak’s horn……..

I acquired the trumpet from a friend of mine, sax player Richard Perez, who knew Spivak.  He got the instrument not too long before Spivak’s death, when Spivak visited Fort Smith.  He was in very poor health and in bad shape financially.

Spivak had sat in some club in the area and then pawned his horn before leaving town.  Richard told the pawn shop owner that if Spivak did not redeem the instrument, that he would buy it.  Richard then sold me the instrument some years ago as a favor after I helped him find a Mark 6 Tenor.

For a few years, I would take the trumpet on my Big Band gigs and play it on Spivak’s theme song, which we had in the book.

Jim Bell