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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke

The best of the Army Air Force Band
Bluebird 09026 – 63857 – 2
  1. In the Mood
  2. A String of Pearls
  3. Rhapsody in Blue
  4. Stardust
  5. Song of the Volga Boatman
  6. It must be Jelly, ‘cause Jam don’t shake like that’.
  7. Medley Killarney; I’ve got a heart filled with love; Moonlight Serenade; Wabash Blues
  8. Tuxedo Junction;
  9. Blue Rain
  10. Along the Santa Fe trail
  11. The St Louis Blues March
  12. Londonderry Air (Danny Boy)
  13. As Time goes By
  14. Juke Box Saturday night.


Glenn Miller and Ted Heath had one thing in common once an arrangement of a tune was in the library, they liked the band to repeat that version exactly on each performance that followed. So much so that both leaders preferred their jazz soloists to play the original solo, even if someone else had recorded it! The benefit commercially was the audiences became very familiar with the arrangements and this may account for their longevity. To give an example the Miller version of American Patrol was played by the first Dance Band I ever heard, which was called the Red Scar Roosters and it will be played by my Big Band next Saturday, some 55 years later!

This selection by the Army Air Force Band therefore is everything that you would expect from a Glenn Miller aggregation, sometimes there is the addition of a string section, but overall the very successful Miller formula is applied. It does have the benefit however of some first class re-mastering and the sound quality is good.

These recordings were made in the 1943/44. Most people are aware that Glenn met with a tragic accident, whilst flying in a light aircraft to Paris, on the 15th of December 1944. He went to make arrangements for an appearance by the band in that City. Three day’s later when the band arrived; it was discovered that no arrangements had been made and that Glenn had disappeared, lost without trace. The band continued under the leadership of Ray McKinley or Gerry Gray. It gave its last performance on the 17th of November 1945.

That of course was not the end of the story, as well as the film ‘The Glenn Miller Story’, which is still on the video shelves, Miller bands play in nearly every civilised country in the world. Glenn Miller to many people is synonymous with tuneful music that they like to hear.



Don Mather




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