Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, two talented and energetic brothers from a small coal mining town in Pennsylvania, produced a music that lifted and unified a depressed American consciousness, providing "an alluring escape from the often distressing real world--into that other world of dancing feet, twirling bodies, and tapping toes," Gunther Schuller noted in his study The Swing Era: The Development of Jazz, 1930-1945. Although illusory in nature, the world created by the music and the shared identity of the listeners "is perhaps the happiest and most significant aspect of the Swing Era," Schuller declared. That facet of swing faded, however, when the American consciousness was permanently changed by World War II. Stereo Review' s Peter Reilly consequently dismissed the Dorsey brothers' music for modern listeners: "It doesn't have enough vitality or true style to bridge the years." But Schuller contended in 1989 the music should not be measured by the subjectivity of timelessness, for swing's important qualities are "impossible to recapture now, and, for those who did not actually experience it, difficult to savor in retrospect."
Top Hat, White Tie and Tails
Words and music by Irving Berlin
Dorsey Brothers' Orchestra
Vocal Chorus by Don Matteson, Skeets Hurfurt and Roc Hillman
Recorded August 1, 1935
Words and music by Irving Berlin. Introduced by Fred Astaire in the motion picture "Top Hat."
According to Brian Rust, Tommy Dorsey did not perform in this recording session. It's a fact that Tommy left the band during a performance at the Glen Island Casino on May 30, 1935 after an argument with his brother. Jimmy continued as director using the Dorsey Brothers name until September when it became the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. Tommy went on to form the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. In 1953 the brothers reunited to form the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Featuring Jimmy Dorsey.