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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, Ian Lace, Peter Woolf, Colin Clarke

Columbia 501647 2

  1. Apurksody
  2. Drummin' Man
  3. Rhythm Jam
  4. Quiet and Roll'Em
  5. Tutti Frutti
  6. Sweetheart, Honey, Darlin',Dear
  7. Tuxedo Junction
  8. Drum Boogie
  9. Bolero at the Savoy
  10. Let Me Off Uptown
  11. Rockin' Chair
  12. Massachusetts
  13. After You've Gone
  14. Skylark
  15. Knock Me a Kiss
  16. That's What You Think
Disc 2
  1. Leave Us leap
  2. What's This?
  3. Dark Eyes
  4. Body and Soul
  5. Opus No1
  6. How High the Moon
  7. Boogie Blues
  8. Lover
  9. Stardust
  10. Gene's Boogie
  11. Disc Jockey Jump
  12. There is no Breeze
  13. Calling Dr. Gillespie
  14. I Should have kept on Dreaming
  15. Up and Atom
  16. Lemon Drop

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

Don Mather is a saxophone player and bandleader in Coventry

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