Bill Challis

William H. "Bill" Challis (Jul 8, 1904, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania - October 4, 1994, Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania) was an American jazz arranger, best known for his association with the Paul Whiteman orchestra.

Challis played piano and saxophone, and was a bandleader at Bucknell University in the early 1920s. He was hired by Jean Goldkette as an arranger in 1926, and moved with Bix Beiderbecke to Paul Whiteman's ensemble in 1927. He wrote scores for Whiteman's full band as well as smaller ensembles drawn from its ranks (such as those led by Frank Trumbauer), and was in part responsible for Beiderbecke's robust representation on Whiteman's Victor Records releases in the late 1920s.

Challis departed from Whiteman's employ in 1930 and did contract arrangements for many major swing era bands, including the Casa Loma Orchestra, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Lennie Hayton, Fletcher Henderson, Artie Shaw, and Frank Trumbauer. He also arranged for radio broadcasts. Later in his career he arranged for popular singers and ensembles.

Birth and Death Data: Born July 8th, 1904 (Wilkes-Barre), Died October 4th, 1994 (Luzerne)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1926 - 1946

Roles Represented in DAHR: arranger, director, piano

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-30172 10-in. 1/12/1928 San Paul Whiteman Orchestra Jazz/dance band arranger, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-36815 10-in. 10/12/1926 Hush-a-bye Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo arranger  
Victor BVE-40211 10-in. 9/15/1927 Blue river Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo arranger  
Victor BVE-40212 10-in. 9/15/1927 Clementine (From New Orleans) Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band arranger  
Victor CVE-40901 12-in. 11/18/1927 Washboard blues Hoagy Carmichael ; Paul Whiteman Concert Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo arranger  
Victor BVE-40937 10-in. 11/23/1927 Changes Paul Whiteman Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio arranger  
Victor BVE-41471 10-in. 1/28/1928 Back in your own back yard Paul Whiteman Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, arranger  
Victor BVE-43118 10-in. 2/28/1928 Sugar Paul Whiteman Orchestra Jazz/dance band arranger  
Victor BVE-43120 10-in. 2/29/1928 When you're with somebody else Paul Whiteman Orchestra Jazz/dance band arranger  
Victor BVE-43147 10-in. 3/16/1928 Little log cabin of dreams Paul Whiteman Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director  
Victor BVE-43665 10-in. 4/22/1928 Forget-me-not Paul Whiteman Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo arranger  
Victor BVE-43667 10-in. 4/23/1928 Louisiana Paul Whiteman Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal chorus director  
Victor BS-76379 10-in. 6/5/1933 Lazy bones Casa Loma Orchestra ; Glen Gray ; Walter Hunt Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director  
Victor BS-76380 10-in. 6/5/1933 My imaginary sweetheart Casa Loma Orchestra ; Glen Gray ; Kenny Sargent Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director  
Victor BS-76381 10-in. 6/5/1933 The night we met Casa Loma Orchestra ; Glen Gray ; Kenny Sargent Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director  
Victor BS-76382 10-in. 6/5/1933 Sophisticated lady Casa Loma Orchestra ; Glen Gray Jazz/dance band director  
Columbia W143260 10-in. 1/4/1927 Washboard blues Arkansaw Travellers [Red Nichols Orchestra] Jazz/dance band arranger  
Decca 73312 1/28/1946 Soft lights and sweet music Bobby Hackett Orchestra arranger, director  
Decca 73313 1/28/1946 What is there to say Bobby Hackett Orchestra arranger, director  
Decca 73343 2/5/1946 Soon Bobby Hackett Orchestra arranger, director  
Decca 73344 2/5/1946 With a song in my heart Bobby Hackett Orchestra arranger, director  
Decca 73345 2/5/1946 If there is someone lovelier than you Bobby Hackett Orchestra arranger, director  
Decca 73372 2/15/1946 Easy to love Bobby Hackett Orchestra arranger, director  
Decca 73373 2/15/1946 Yesterdays Bobby Hackett Orchestra arranger, director  
Decca 73374 2/15/1946 More than you know Bobby Hackett Orchestra arranger, director  
Decca 73375 2/15/1946 What is there to say? Bobby Hackett Orchestra arranger, director  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Challis, Bill," accessed November 28, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108795.

Challis, Bill. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved November 28, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108795.

"Challis, Bill." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 28 November 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108795

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