Jimmy Mundy was born James Mundy in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 28, 1907. He learned to play the saxophone as a child but gained his arranging skills in his early twenties playing in the local bands of Erskine Tate, Tommy Miles and Carroll Dickerson.
In 1932 he sat in the saxophone chair of the Earl Hines band for four years, but swiftly developing a reputation as an arranger. Arranging a couple of tunes for Claude Hopkins in 1932, it was after selling one of his arrangements to Benny Goodman in 1935 that Mundy was hired him away from Hines, becoming Goodman’s staff arranger.
Mundy was also a significant supplier of arrangements to Count Basie from about 1940 to 1947, as well as writing for Gene Krupa, Paul Whiteman, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Spivak, Harry James and many others. He briefly led his own band in 1939, but after WWII he returned to arranging for Basie, James, and others.
Jimmy wrote the score to the 1955 musical “The Vamp” that starred Carol Channing. The 1957 musical “Livin’ The Life” and the 2010 dance revue “Come Fly Away” also had some of his music.
In 1959, a move to Paris had Mundy as the musical director for Barclay Records but he returned to the U.S. in the Sixties. He continued an active career as a writer well into the 1970s. He recorded three albums as a leader with his last “Fiesta In Brass” the year before his death. On April 24, 2003, tenor saxophonist, arranger and composer Jimmy Mundy passed away.
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