GUS ARNHEIM AND HIS ORCHESTRA: Best remember as the man who brought Bing Crosby to the nation's attention, Gus had a reputation for discovering and nurtring young talent.
It was said a singing job with Arnheim was a stepping stone to success in motion pictures or radio. In his autobiography, Bing Crosby credited the publicity he and the Rhythm Boys (Bing, Harry Barris and Al Rinker) received at the Grove as a major contribution to his solo success.
Much of Gus's success was due to the wonderful music arrangements of band member Jimmie Grier, who would begin his own orchestra performing at the Cocoanut Grove after Gus left on tour.
JIMMIE GRIER AND HIS ORCHESTRA: Musically gifted, Jimmie played alto and tenor sax, clarinet, bassoon, a bit of violin, and guitar as well - but it was his work as an arranger that made his mark in popular music. His inventive charts for the Gus Arnheim orchestra were a key to that group's success.
In early 1932, when Arnheim took advantage of his Grove publicity to make some money on the road, Jimmie Grier formed his own band and took over for his former boss. Friendly and gregarious, Grier fronted a colorful and extremely music band that reflected his relaxed personality.
Grier's orchestra featured outstanding vocalists like Dick Webster, a musical trio known as The Three Cheers, and Grove holdovers Donald Novis, Loyce Whiteman and Harry Barris.
HARRY BARRIS: A member of the Rhythm Boys, along with Bing Crosby, Harry sang with the Gus Arnheim and Jimmie Greer orchestras.
THE COCOANUT GROVE: These recordings are from 1930s transcription recordings of live broadcasts from The Cocoanut Grove ballroom in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California; a hot spot for movie stars of the day.
The lavish club, part of the massive 23-acre resort, was decorated in Moroccan style and featured full-sized palm trees allegedly salvaged from Valentino's "The Sheik" film set. Additionally, it's "night sky" was filled with stars, thanks to 1,000 small light bulbs in the ceiling.