Quiet and Roll'Em
Sweetheart, Honey, Darlin',Dear
Bolero at the Savoy
Let Me Off Uptown
After You've Gone
Knock Me a Kiss
That's What You Think
Leave Us leap
Body and Soul
How High the Moon
Disc Jockey Jump
There is no Breeze
Calling Dr. Gillespie
I Should have kept on Dreaming
Up and Atom
Disk1 tracks the Krupa band from 1938 to 1942 and Disc2, 1945 to 1949. What
we are listening to here is the "pop" music of that era, which is why all
the bands played Tuxedo Junction, Leave us Leap, Lemon Drop etc., they were
what the crowd had come to hear! Irene Day was the Krupa Band equivalent
of Lita Rosa with the Ted Heath band. By 1941, Anita O'Day had taken over
in the female vocal department; she was of course featured later with the
Stan Kenton Orchestra before embarking on her illustrious solo career. Anita
sings on tracks 9,10,11,12,14 & 16. It is interesting to note how even
in the period between 1938 and 1942, the band was beginning to have a much
more swinging sound and the rhythm section were getting away from their earlier
plodding. Roy Eldridge "Little Jazz" is heard to good effect on both trumpet
and vocals on 'Let Me Off Uptown' and the delightful Rockin'Chair. Eldridge
was really the bridge between Armstrong and Gillespie and the influence of
both is heard in his playing. He is heard to good effect on After You've
Gone showing off his fabulous technique, he really was ahead of his time!
Disc 2 kicks off with 'Leave Us Leap' and the arrangement that everyone,
who has played in local Big Bands, has played, for me it was in 1956 and
it was a big kick.
By now Don Fagerquist, who was for many years a stalwart of the Les Brown
Band, had joined on Trumpet and big toned Charlie Ventura had joined the
Saxes. By now the band was nice and loose and really starting to swing.
Gene Krupa could swing any band he played with, he had already demonstrated
that with the Benny Goodman Band, before starting his own band. For the rest
of his career he was to be one of the most famous "Drummin' Men". Columbia
are to be congratulated on providing complete personnel listings, which make
listening so much more enjoyable, a biography of Gene Krupa might have been
nice, but perhaps I ask too much!
Charlie Ventura is heard to good effect on Body and Soul, as is Teddy Napoleon
on Piano. Krupa had already demonstrated that he could swing without a Bass
player with Goodman and here he proves it again.
Opus One is taken at a slower tempo than the Dorsey version, but that apart
it is very similar, except that this one has an Anita O'Day vocal. Other
famous names crop up on track 6, where Gerry Mulligan is the arranger and
Red Rodney joins the Trumpets.
Disc Jockey Jump is getting nearer to a Bebop feel and again the arrangement
is by Gerry Mulligan. By 1947 Urbie Green had joined the Trombones and Eddie
Finckel produced his 'Callin' Dr Gillespie' arrangement. The 1949 band included
Roy Eldridge and Frank Rosolino who has the vocal chore on Lemon Drop.
This 2CD album is very enjoyable, it tracks Big Band Jazz over some of the
most important years of it's development, it also tracks the development
of some of the music's finest soloists, I wish I knew who took the Alto solos,
perhaps a reader may put me right? What I am sure about was that Gene Krupa
could swing a Big Band.
Don Mather is a saxophone player and bandleader in Coventry