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Bill Finegan, arranger and big-band leader, dies at 91

Bill Finegan

Bill Finegan, an architect of the big band sounds of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller who later traded in commercial success to co-create the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, which produced music that still stands as some of the most experimental of the swing era, has died. He was 91.

Finegan died June 4 at a Hospital in Bridgeport, Conn., from complications of pneumonia.

William James Finegan was born in Newark on April 3, 1917, and grew up loving music almost as much as fishing. After winning an amateur competition, his small high school jazz band toured widely. Tommy Dorsey was impressed with Finegan’s arrangement of “Lonesome Road” and recommended him to Glenn Miller, who hired him in 1938, and then became an arranger for Dorsey.In 1947 and 1948,

In 1952 he teamed with another leading arranger, Eddie Sauter, to create a band that would explore and expand the concept of the jazz orchestra.They quickly produced a stream of compositions and arrangements and secured a recording contract from RCA Victor.

Mr. Finegan is survived by his daughter and three grandchildren.

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