Harold Eugene Gifford (May 31, 1908 – November 12, 1970) was an American jazz banjoist, guitarist, and arranger.
Gifford was raised in Memphis, Tennessee, and played banjo in high school. He played in territory bands, including Watson's Bell Hops and the bands of Bob Foster and Lloyd Williams. He formed his own group to tour Texas and then switched to guitar to play with Blue Steele and Henry Cato's Vanities Orchestra in 1928.
In 1929 he wrote arrangements for Jean Goldkette, and that same year he joined the Casa Loma Orchestra, where he became the group's chief arranger. He played guitar and banjo in the ensemble but quit in 1933 to concentrate on arrangements for the group. He remained with Casa Loma until 1939, when he was bought out of his contract due to alcohol-related infractions of the band's strict rules, but he returned to play with them in 1948-49. He worked as a freelance arranger in the 1940s and did much work arranging for radio. In the 1950s and 1960s he went into semiretirement from music, working in radio engineering. Gifford led only one session as a bandleader, which yielded four tunes for Victor Records in 1935.
Birth and Death Data: Born May 31st, 1908 (Americus), Died November 12th, 1970 (Memphis)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1927 - 1939
Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, guitar, leader, arranger, songwriter, lyricist, banjo
Notes: Some Victor disc labels list his composition credits under name, "Eugene Gifford."
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||BS-73774||10-in.||10/5/1932||Black jazz||King Carter and his Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||BS-75260||10-in.||2/17/1933||Casa Loma stomp||Glen Gray Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||LBS-75261||10-in. (33-1/3 rpm)||2/17/1933||Dardanella||Glen Gray Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|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||songwriter|
|Victor||BS-76622||10-in.||7/11/1933||Smoke rings||Harold Arlen ; Leo Reisman Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||composer|
|Victor||BS-77236||10-in.||12/6/1933||In the valley of yesterday||The Vagabonds||Male vocal trio, with guitar||composer|
|Victor||BS-78398||10-in.||11/8/1933||The moment I looked in your eyes||Hotel Pierre Orchestra ; Henry King||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||composer|
|Victor||BVE-81009||10-in.||12/27/1933||In the valley of yesterday||George Hall ; Hotel Taft Orchestra ; Barry Wells||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||composer|
|Victor||BS-83177||10-in.||7/16/1934||Out of space||Isham Jones Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||BVE-83917||10-in.||8/10/1934||Casa Loma stomp||Mack Rogers Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||BS-89794||10-in.||5/13/1935||Nothin' but the blues||Gene Gifford Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||arranger, leader, songwriter|
|Victor||BS-89795||10-in.||5/13/1935||New Orleans twist||Gene Gifford Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||songwriter, leader, arranger|
|Victor||BS-89796||10-in.||5/13/1935||Squareface||Gene Gifford Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with talk||leader, composer|
|Victor||BS-89797||10-in.||5/13/1935||Dizzy glide||Gene Gifford Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with vocal||composer, leader|
|Victor||PBS-09815||10-in.||11/10/1937||Goblin band||Ozzie Nelson Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||BS-014113||10-in.||9/13/1937||Casa Loma stomp||Vernon Geyer||Electric organ solo||composer|
|Victor||BS-042729||10-in.||9/25/1939||Out of space||Ray Eberle ; Glenn Miller Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||composer|
|Victor||BS-042981||10-in.||10/18/1939||Out of space||Hal Kemp Orchestra ; Nan Wynn||Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo||composer|
|Columbia||W145378||10-in.||12/14/1927||Everything is just the same||Bob Miller Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||lyricist|
|Columbia||W152427||10-in.||6/27/1933||Smoke rings||Shim Shammers ; Dicky Wells||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||composer|
|Columbia||W152443||10-in.||7/26/1933||Smoke rings||Drake Hotel Orchestra ; Clyde McCoy||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|OKeh||W404569||10-in.||12/6/1930||Casa Loma stomp||Casa Loma Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Decca||DLA 835||10-in.||7/23/1937||Casa Loma stomp-1||Glen Gray Orchestra||arranger|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Gifford, Gene," accessed April 10, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110276.
Gifford, Gene. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 10, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110276.
"Gifford, Gene." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 10 April 2021.
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