A superior rhythm guitarist, Carmen Mastren uplifted many sessions with his subtle playing but was rarely in the spotlight himself. He started out playing banjo and violin before specializing in guitar. He played in a family band and in 1931 became a professional. After moving to New York in 1935, Mastren worked with Wingy Manone and then Tommy Dorsey's big band (1936-40). He also occasionally contributed arrangements to Tommy Dorsey. In 1940 Mastren recorded with the Sidney Bechet-Muggsy Spanier Big Four, probably his most famous recordings. He worked with Joe Marsala from 1940-41, became a studio musician, served in the Army from 1943-45 (including being part of Glenn Miller's Army Air Force Band), and then after his discharge went back into the studios including a long stint (1953-70) at NBC. In the 1970s, Mastren occasionally played jazz including appearances with the New York Jazz Repertory Company. Strangely enough, Mastren's one album as a leader (from 1967 for Mercury) is a commercial Dixieland date in which he exclusively plays banjo. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi

Two Moods - Carmen Mastren (Solo)
If I Could Be with You
October 6, 1913 Carmen Mastren, Banjorama
"Minuet in Miniature (New York, 1946)" by Carmen Mastren & Albert Harris
Carmen Mastren & Ray McKinley - Pistol Packin' Mama (1944)
Rhythm Guitar in Early Jazz
Bechet - Spanier Big Four "Squeeze Me" / "Sweet Sue, Just You"
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