George Bassman

George Bassman ( born February 7, 1914 in New York City; † June 26, 1997 in Los Angeles ) was an American composer and arranger.

Life and work

Bassman was born the son of a Jewish Russian immigrant family in New York and grew up in Boston, where he early music lessons at the Boston Conservatory also took. There he studied orchestration and composition, but left as a teenager against his father's school in order to play the piano in a jazz band. Later he worked as an arranger with Fletcher Henderson and later for Andre Kostelanetz.

He became a member of the New York Jazz Scene Through these contacts and also began writing songs soon. One of his most famous songs is I'm Getting Sentimental Over You, which he wrote with Ned Washington for Tommy Dorsey. In the 1930s he moved to Hollywood, where he orchestrated the Gershwin songs in the Fred Astaire film A damsel in distress.

He composed music for the Marx Brothers movies A Day at the Races, Go West and The Marx Brothers in a department store and wrote and arranged for musicals such as Lady Be Good and Cabin in the Sky. Other well-known films are the Judy Garland musical The Wizard of Oz, where he orchestrated the background music, as well as Babes in Arms and For Me and My Gal.

His Hollywood career suffered in 1947 during the McCarthy era a setback when he admitted to have belonged to the Communist Party. Meanwhile Bassman went to New York to work at the theater, for television and for small independent film productions. 1962 returned to Hollywood, but got there in dispute with the producers of Sacramento. With the film Mail Order Bride Bassman ended his career in Hollywood. Bassman died alone in 1997 in Los Angeles