The Hal Kemp Orchestra’s sweet band sound has been described as “some of the prettiest and most tasteful dance music of all time.”
The band actually started out as a jazz band originally organized at the University of North Carolina. In the early 1930’s, Kemp conducted some of the most dedicated musicians in the industry, including trumpeters Bunny Berigan and Jack Pettis, Harold (Porky) Dankers, Ben Williams, Saxey Dowell, John Scott Trotter, Skinnay Ennis, Earl Geiger, Fred Train, Gus Mayhew, Eugene (Pinkie) Kintzel and Paul (Pappy) Weston. Featured vocalists included Bob Allen, Deane Janis, Maxine Gray, Saxie Dowell, Nan Wynn and Janet Blair.
Before Kemp died tragically in a car accident at the age of 35, the band recorded over 60 hit songs including ‘There’s a Small Hotel’ (#1, 1936), ‘When I’m With You’ (#1, 1936), ‘This Year’s Kisses’ (#1, 1937) and ‘Where or When’ (#1, 1937).