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



Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra with Frank Sinatra, Connie Haines and The Pied Pipers.
(No other personnel given ) Recorded 1940 - 1942
RCA 100 YEARS OF MUSIC RCA 07863 - 66427 - 2


1. I'll Be Seeing You
2. Fools Rush In ( Where Angels Fear To Tread )
3. It's A Lovely Day Tomorrow
4. The World Is In My Arms
5. We Three ( My Echo, My Shadow And Me )
6. Dolores
7. Everything Happens To Me
8. Let's Get Away From It All
9. Blue Skies
10. There Are Such Things
11. Daybreak
12. You're Part Of My Heart

This compilation comes from a five C.D. Dorsey/Sinatra retrospective set entitled " The Song Is You ". The period covered by these recordings is 1940 - 1942. As with the Glenn Miller disc in this series the record company has omitted any personnel details other than the vocalists. However, on this disc at least the date of recording is listed for each track.

I must admit to being disappointed by this release. Having heard very little early Sinatra I was surprised at the general level of his performances. I had quite expected an accomplished if somewhat immature vocalist with a certain degree of control and a personalised delivery. Instead I heard a non-descript baritone voice with no great distinctiveness in terms of presentation or phrasing. Sinatra was never the most "in tune" of singers, but on several of the selections here his intonation is decidedly wayward. He tends to fare better on the numbers with the Pied Pipers - perhaps at this time he was more comfortable in a group setting. It seems hard to imagine that this is the singer who recorded so many classic albums in the fifties and sixties - whilst the voice is instantly recognisable the stamp of quality is sadly missing. There must have been many vocalists in the early forties far more deserving of the fame that Sinatra achieved.
The Dorsey Orchestra was one of the most popular swing bands and, to my ears, one of the most meticulously rehearsed. Unfortunately this led to an almost military feel to the way the arrangements were interpreted. The band seemed to sacrifice warmth and feeling in favour of brashness and a Teutonic sense of accuracy in terms of dynamics and phrasing.

Tommy Dorsey, whilst not a great jazz soloist, was a wonderful exponent of a melodic line and this is much in evidence on several tracks. His control of the instrument and beauty of tone on ballads in particular was outstanding, not only in comparison to other trombone players,but to virtually any other instrumentalist at that time. There are good clarinet and trumpet solos on some of the tunes but no details are given. The orchestrations are excellent - Dorsey used arrangers such as Mary Lou Williams and Sy Oliver. It is a pity that the interpretations are often so wooden. It was enjoyable to hear one or two of the lesser known standards like " Everything Happens To Me " and " There Are Such Things ".

There is not much here for the jazz aficionado - Dorsey was the leader of a band famous for its ballads and dance music. The Sinatra fans would be better off seeking later recordings unless they are completist in outlook.

Dick Stafford

D.S. is a professional reed player and teacher living in Coventry.

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