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Guide to the Sonny Burke Papers, ca. 1949-1951 and undated

Collection Overview

The Sonny Burke Collection (chiefly undated, but some dated between Nov., 1949 and June, 1951) has as its focal point 76 arrangements of popular music for "Big Band." These charts were used by Burke's band during the 1940's-1950's for performances in the United States and Mexico. Most of the arrangements appear to be by Sonny Burke, but other composers/arrangers include: Frank Erickson, Hal Schaefer, Stan Kenton, John Valentine Eppel, Laurindo Almeida, and Ray Conniff. Some of the arrangements were made for recordings on the Decca Records label. The most common instrumentation is for two alto saxophones/clarinets, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, four trumpets and four trombones, although other combinations exist. The instrumentation is noted for each title in the Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Sonny Burke papers circa 1949-1951 and undated
Creator
Burke, Sonny, 1914-1980
Extent
5 flat boxes, 76 complete big band charts
Repository
Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Language
English.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in the Sonny Burke Collection have not been transferred to Duke University. The user is advised that rights for performance may be retained by the original composer and/or original arranger. For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Artistry en mambo

Chart no.: 00

Composer: Stan Kenton

Arranger/Copyist: Johnny O'Valle

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 1
Begin the beguine

Chart no.: 121

Instrumentation: Alto sax/clarinet (2), tenor sax/clarinet (1), baritone sax/bass clarinet (1), trumpets (4), trombones (3)

Provenance: George Kaitz

Box 1
Bela

Chart no.: 96

Instrumentation: Reed (1,2,4), trombones (4)

Box 1
Blue velvet

Arranger/Copyist: Rudy Hermann

Chart no.: 94

Instrumentation: Alto sax/clarinet (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Dated: 9/22/51

Box 1
Blues

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 58

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (2), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Decca Records, 11/21/49

Box 1
Caracas

Composer: Frank Erickson

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4), conga

Box 1
Cha-Cha-Cha

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), bass sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4), bass trombone (1), bass, piano, bongos/congas

Box 1
Cocoanuts

Chart no.: 86

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 1
Contemplation

Instrumentation: Alto sax (1 [1st alto missing]), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 1
Dubonnet

Chart no.: 100

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 1
Embreacable [Embraceable] you

Arranger/Copyist: Babe Russin

Chart no.: 79

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 1
Fiesta bells

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 1
Foggy day

Arranger/Copyist: Ray Conniff

Chart no.: 80

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 1
Following you

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 1
Get happy

Composer: Sonny Burke

Chart no.: 62

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (2), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 6/27/50

Box 2
Ghost of a chance

Chart no.: 98

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Note: extra copies of trumpet parts for different performers: Juan, Mac, Mickey, Ollie, & Pete

Box 2
Guy is a guy

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 2
Happiness is this

Chart no.: 73

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Performers: Andrews Sisters, 4/6/51

Box 2
Happy pay day

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 66

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 4/17/50

Box 2
Hot timbales (Topanga, Balboa)

Chart no.: 87

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 2
I want to be happy

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 6/27/50

Box 2
I wished on the moon

Arranger/Copyist: George V. Yocum

Instrumentation: Clarinet, alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (3)

Performers names on parts: Ollie, Hugo, Clint, Don, Bob, Macbeth, Pete, Mickey, Paul, Jimmy, Ray

Box 2
If you're gonna love me, love me

Arranger/Copyist: Cueo Valtierra

Chart no.: 99

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 2
I'm yours to command

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 72

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Dated: 7/28/51

Box 2
I've got to fall in love again

Arranger/Copyist: George V. Yocum

Chart no.: 68

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 2
Joe's mambo

Chart no.: 83

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 2
Jing-a-ling mombo

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 56

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 10/13/50

Box 2
Juke joint mama

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 60

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Dated: 11/21/49

Box 2
June

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (2), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 3
Just one of those things

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 61

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 4/17/50

Box 3
Koo koo mombo

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 55

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (2), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 10/13/50

Box 3
Lady bug

Chart no.: 105

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 3
Lazy day

Chart no.: 107

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 3
Little bud mombo

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 53

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 11/1/50

Box 3
Main street

Chart no.: 91

Instrumentation: Alto sax/clarinet (2), tenor sax/clarinet (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 3
Mambo man

Arranger/Copyist: Rudy Hermann

Chart no.: 74

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4) (2 copies of 4th part)

Provenance: Vic Schoen, 6/6/51

Box 3
Mambo on my mind

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 3
Mandingue (Mahn-ding-gay)

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 3
Midnight sun

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (5), trombones (4 - 2nd part missing)

Box 3
Missouri waltz (Hush-a-bye, ma baby)

Composer: John Valentine Eppel

Arranger/Copyist: Vic Schoen

Instrumentation: Alto sax (1), tenor sax (1), trumpets (2), trombones (2)

Published material: Chicago: Forster Music, c1943.

Box 3
Mist

Composer: Frank W. Erickson

Chart no.: 103

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 3
Mom boogie

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 54

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 11/1/50

Box 3
Mombo #5

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 51

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 10/13/50

Box 4
Montevideo

Composer: Hal Schaefer

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 4
Moods in mombo

Chart no.: 57

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 4
More! more! more!

Chart no.: 93

Instrumentation: Alto sax/clarinet (2), tenor sax/clarinet (1), baritone sax/bass clarinet (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 4
Mr. & Mrs. Sippi

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 69

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 3/23/51

Box 4
Mr. Pessimist (I'm a pessimist)

Chart no.: 88

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 4
Mulholland Drive

Chart no.: 90

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 4
New sound for the blues

Composer: Hal Schaefer

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 4
Ramona

Instrumentation: Soprano sax/clarinet, alto sax (1), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (3), tuba, piano

Box 4
Samba Americano

Composer: Laurindo Almeida

Arranger/Copyist: Radames Gnattali

Chart no.: 95

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 4
Sammy's little shaker

Chart no.: 75

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 4
September song

Composer: Ray Conniff

Chart no.: 76

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 4
Side walk shufflers

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 70

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 3/1/51

Box 4
Slow freight

Chart no.: 108

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 4
Soliloquy

Composer: Frank W. Erickson

Chart no.: 53

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 4
Star-spangled banner

Arranger/Copyist: Damrosch/Sousa

Instrumentation: Clarinet (1), baritone sax (1), trombones (4), bass

Published material: G. Schirmer, c1918

Box 4
Stompin' at the Savoy

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 64

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 4/17/50

Box 4
Strange interlewd [interlude]

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 4
Sweetn'n stuff

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 67

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 3/23/51

Box 4
T. blues [Tenor blues?]

Instrumentation: Tenor saxophones (3)

Box 5
Tango-langa

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 5
Tea for two (T 4 2)

Chart no.: 82

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), trumpets (5), trombones (4)

Box 5
Ten times

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 59

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 11/21/49

Box 5
Tenderly medley

Chart no.: 85

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 5
That's the one for me

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 71

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 3/1/51

Box 5
Three cornered tune

Chart no.: 89

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 5
Three-D (3-D)

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 5
Undecided

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 5
Unless medley

Chart no.: 78

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 5
Wanna love you

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 5
What is this thing

Arranger/Copyist: Frank W. Erickson

Chart no.: 102

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 5
What, where, when

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 65

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 3/22/50

Box 5
Wonnerful, wasn't it

Composer: Sonny Burke

Arranger/Copyist: Marty Seliger

Chart no.: 68A

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Provenance: Decca Records, 3/29/51

Box 5
Would I love you

Chart no.: 77

Instrumentation: Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)

Box 5
Miscellaneous

Complete parts (Alto sax (2), tenor sax (1), baritone sax (1), trumpets (4), trombones (4)) for 3 arrangements. One has the notation: [chart #] 81, another is arranged by Frank Erickson.

2 Programs and a complimentary ticket for Saturday, July 5, 1952.

Miscellaneous unidentified or incomplete arrangements, including some scores. Some have titles:

Bows (trumpet 3)

Ravel's Bolero (trombone, 1st alto, 2nd tenor)

Baby Doll (chart #106, 2nd trumpet)

Someone on Your Mind (1st alto sax)

The Sunny South by J. Bodewalt Lampe (2nd-3rd clarinets)

Them Their Eyes (baritone sax excerpt, trombone ending)

Box 5

Historical Note

DateEvent(s)
1914, March 22Born Joseph Francis Burke in Scranton, Pennsylvania
1937Graduated from Duke University
1930's to 1940'sBig band leader in New York (including Sam Donahue's band)
1940's to 1950'sBand arranger, including Charlie Spivak & Jimmy Dorsey bands
Is credited as co-composer of Midnight Sun, the Lionel Hampton tune with lyrics by Johnny Mercer.
Active as an arranger & bandleader in major recording studios, including Decca Records; Burke was musical director of Reprise Records and was responsible for many of Frank Sinatra's albums
Bandleader for recordings of leading singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Torme.
1980, May 31Died

  • Sonny Burke plays Mambos (1951)
  • Sonny Burke and his Orchestra I & II (1951)
  • The Sonny Burke-Don Elliott Six (ca. 1960)

Further biographical information may be found in: The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Chester, CT: New England Pub. Associates. 1992 , v. 1, p. 368.

Subject Headings

Provenance

The papers of Sonny Burke were acquired by Duke University in 1987.

Processing Information

Processed by: Lois Schultz

Completed July 11, 1996

Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.