The Carolina Club Orchestra was the creation of Hal Kemp, who was actually born in Marion, Alabama. A gifted musician, he played piano at Marion’s Bonita Theater while still a child. His family eventually moved to Charlottte, North Carolina, where he attended Central High School. It was there that he formed his first band, a five piece group known as The Merrymakers.
Kemp attended the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1922. It was there that he formed the Carolina Club Orchestra, which became successful enough to tour Europe during summer vacations. Kemp never graduated, opting instead to take the band to New York City, where they would record with Brunswick, Melotone, and Okeh Records. A good example of their kind of jazz can be found in the sophisticated swing of “She’s a Great, Great Girl.”
Nice, right? Catchy, pleasing melodies on top with some nice back and forth between the horns underneath, making it a song that is smarter than it at first seems.
“Under a Texas Moon” is a more placid affair, but still a lovely listen.