Some of the musicians in Bernie’s band were saxophonist Jack Pettis, trumpeter Bill Moore, and pianist Oscar Levant.
In early 1925, Oscar Levant was playing in a six-piece Society Orchestra at Ciro’s.
Ben Bernie, “The Old Maestro,” bandleader, composer (“Sweet Georgia Brown”), and radio personality, was born Benjamin Anzelevitz on May 30, 1891, probably in New York City. [NYT] Ben Bernie, in his draft registration card with his last name spelled Anzelovitz, gives New York, New York as his place of birth.His parents, Julius and Anna, born in Russia, had eleven children. In addition he states that he provides partial support for relatives, full support for his wife, and that he suffers of “spinal trouble.”Little Ben was a prodigy on violin.Back in New York, Ben Bernie teamed up with Phil Baker: they appeared in 1914-1918 as “Bernie and Baker.”In 1922 Ben organized his first band and was given a six-week contract at the opening of the Hotel Roosevelt on September 22, 1924.The band stayed for several years, and was replaced in 1929 by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians.He appeared at Carnegie Hall when he was 14 years old.
At 15, he was teaching violin at the Mozart School of Music.