The Harry James Orchestra

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Reviews of Fred Radke and the Harry James Orchestra
Dover to Swing to Music of Harry James - interview with Radke, by Jeff Brown, Dover Post

"...Radke learned much from James Rolex Submariner replica himself, having worked with the legendary entertainer in the late 1960s. "I remember sitting there; he was 52 and I was in my 20s, and Im thinking, He plays pretty well for an old guy'..."

Harry James Gone, His Music Thrives, Dan K. Thomasson, Scripps Howard News Service

"Now directed by its former lead trumpet, the enormously talented and irrepressible Fred Radke, the James band is still packing them into concert halls around the globe nearly nine months a year, sustaining the music that made James and others of the era household names and heroes to every young American, the rock stars of a generation that sorely needed the lift beset as it was by depression and war.


A player of great range and tone, with tremendous stage presence and vast experience including a stint with the old Miller organization led by Tex Benecke, Seattle-based Radke is a highly respected music educator with a solid reputation among his jazz peers. Like James before him, he lights up whatever setting with good humor and versatility, singing now and then. Among his and the band's assets has been his wife, Gina Funes, a noted jazz singer, who still travels much of the time, earning laudatory reviews from every performance."

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The Harry James Orchestra, The Bob Hope Cultural Center

"Harry James wrote of Mr. Radke, 'Since he left my orchestra, Fred has gained an outstanding reputation throughout the United States and Canada, as a great trumpet soloist, conductor and educator of music.' It has been noted that Fred Radke's style of trumpet playing is so similar to Mr. James' that listeners often cannot discern the difference. He was first choice to lead The Harry James Orchestra because of his unique talents and broad area of expertise."

Good old days of swing return to Civic Center, The Des Moines Register

"The band has found a remarkable leader in conductor and trumpeter Fred Radke. Radke has commanding stage presence. His royal figure demanded flawless performances from his fellow musicians, and they delivered with style and grace.

Under Radke's precise control, the band played all those beloved numbers that have made the Harry James Orchestra a legend -- from soft, dreamy ballads like 'Sleepy Lagoon' to big, brassy pieces like 'Two O'Clock Jump.' "


'Unforgettable' Couple Merge Marriage, MusicMercer Island Reporter

Gina and Fred "Funes, who trained in classical music at the University of Washington, went on to sing in revues and operas, eventually opening for a musical group called the Lancers at the Marine Room in the old Olympic Hotel. That is when she met Radke, the Lancer's trumpet player."

Lutcher Theater to Host Music of Big Bands, The Record

"Under the direction of Fred Radke, who played first trumpet with Harry James for many years, you will hear "You Made Me Love You," "I Don't Want to Walk without You" and "Two O'Clock Jump." Close your eyes, and you will believe that Harry and his band are here for person just like the night he performed at Lutcher Theater on February 12, 1982."

Bring Back Big Band Era, The Sun, Lowell, Massachusetts

"I was working in nightclubs when the Lancers came through and their trumpet player had just left,' says Radke, who has played behind Johnnie Ray, Earl Grant, the Lennon Sisters, Pat Boone and Rich Little. 'I figured that was a perfect way to get to meet Harry." He was with the Lancers for seven years."

Fred & Gina, Seattle's 'Swing Time' The Seattle Times

" Radke has also led the Harry James Orchestra on tours and next year, he will tour as part of Columbia Artist's Salute to Harry James.... "

"They went where the jobs were, traveling to towns and cities throughout the Northwest. After they agreed to do a USO-style tour put together by a private company, the couple soon found themselves headed to the Far East, during the Vietnam War..... While performing in northern Thailand, they watched the war across the river in Laos, hearing bombs drop and explode..."
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