Ernie Fields Sr.
born on 26/8/1904 in Nacogdoches, TX, United States
died on 11/5/1977
Ernie Fields (August 26, 1905 – May 11, 1997) was an African American trombonist, pianist, arranger and bandleader. He first became known for leading the Royal Entertainers, which were based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and toured along a circuit stretching from Kansas City, Kansas, to Dallas, Texas.
Early life and career
Fields was born in Nacogdoches, Texas. From the late 1920s, he led a band in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area called the Royal Entertainers, and eventually began touring more widely, and recording. In 1939, he was invited to New York by John Hammond to record for the Vocalion label. He did not become a star, but continued to work steadily, recording for smaller labels, and gradually transforming his sound through a smaller band and a repertoire shift from big band, swing to R&B. He continued to straddle these styles into the 1950s, playing swing standards such as "Tuxedo Junction" and "Begin the Beguine" in a rocking R&B style.
In the late 1950s he moved to Los Angeles, California, joining Rendezvous Records, for whom he ran the house band. This included pianist Ernie Freeman, guitarist Rene Hall (who had previously worked with Fields in the 1930s), saxophonist Plas Johnson, and drummer Earl Palmer. In 1959 this band had an international hit with an R&B version of Glenn Millers "In the Mood", credited to the Ernie Fields Orchestra, which reached #4 on the Billboard chart. The track also peaked at #13 in the UK Singles Chart. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The band, with minor changes of personnel, went on to record instrumentals under many different names, including B. Bumble and the Stingers, The Marketts and The Routers.
Rendezvous Records folded in late 1963, and Fields retired soon after. He died in May 1997, at the age of 91.
His son is the saxophonist and bandleader Ernie Fields, Jr.
With Freddie Hubbard
- Bundle of Joy (Columbia, 1977)
With Ahmad Jamal
- Night Song (Motown, 1980)
- 1.0 1.1 1.2 Thedeadrockstarsclub.com - accessed April 2011
- Laprarie, Michael, "Fields, Ernier (1904-1997)," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture (accessed May 14, 2010).
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums, 19th, London: Guinness World Records Limited.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs, 2nd, London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd.