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Space Age Music Maker

Milt Rogers


  • Born Milton Adelstein 21 Auguest 1925, Brooklyn, New York
  • Died August 1981, Encino, California

Milt Rogers spent most of the space age pop era working in the trenches at Dot Records alongside George Cates and others, churning out mostly watered-down arrangements of current hits for an endless stream of Lawrence Welk and Billy Vaughn albums.

Not that he didn't have the credentials and chops to rate as a hipster if he wanted. Settling in Los Angeles after World War Two, he studied composition with Wesley La Violette, an odd but influential figure on the L.A. music scene whose theories rubbed off on jazz figures like Jimmy Giuffre and Shorty Rogers. Later, he took lessons on scoring for films and television from Earle Hagen and Leith Stevens. He led his own small groups, playing piano and vibes and tackling occasional vocals, in clubs around L.A., and spent several years arranging and conducting behind singer Gale Storm.

In 1958, he joined the new Dot Records label as assistant musical director, and he remained with Dot until the label folded and reemerged as Ranwood. Although most of Roger's work went uncredited, he recorded a couple of lively space age pop albums, including the ambitiously-titled "Ultimate Percussion." Like Skip Martin's albums for Somerset, "Ultimate Percussion" features a stellar assortment of ace West Coast jazz/studio talents pumping up the full-channel separation approach to standards such as "Slow Boat to China." Come to think of it, "Ultimate Percussion" may just have been Dot's sole bona-fide entry in the pernicious percussion sweepstakes.


Recordings

  • Milt Rogers Plays Rodgers and Hart, Dot 3055
  • Ultimate Percussion, Dot 3319
  • The Jet Set, Ports Of Call, Time 2202
  • selections on Composers, Time STT-306 (3 LP set)


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