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


'Big Band - swingin' through the night'

RCA Bluebird
09026 63929 2



1. King Porter Stomp (Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, 1935)
2. Blueberry Hill (Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, 1940)
3. Tuxedo Junction (Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra, 1939)
4. 'S Wonderful (Artie Shaw and His Orchestra, 1945)
5. Minnie the Moocher (Cab Calloway and His Cotton Club Orchestra, 1933)
6. Cherokee (Charlie Barnet and His Orchestra, 1939)
7. I Can't Get Started (Bunny Berrigan and His Orchestra, 1937)
8. Never No Lament - Don't Get Around Much Anymore (Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra, 1940)
9. Marie (Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, 1937)
10. Little Brown Jug (Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, 1939)
11. Robbin's Nest (Count Basie and His Orchestra, 1947)
12. Good Bait (Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra, 1947)
13. Night Train (Buddy Morrow and His Orchestra, 1952)
14. The Loop (The Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, 1954)

Considering the amount of recording that the big bands made between the 20s and 50s it is not surprising that there is a vast number of compilations being produced to-day and 'Big Band 'swingin' through the night'' is typical. For the individual who wants a fair yet obviously small cross-section of the era this adequately covers it.

Track 2, 'Tuxedo Junction' is immediately associated with Glenn Miller but here it is performed by the Erskine Hawkins band where it originated as a 'head arrangement.' One of the more engaging items is ''S'Wonderful' arranged by the late Ray Conniff and featuring Shaw, Dodo Marmarosa on piano and Herbie Steward, tenor saxophone. Even though novelty numbers such as Cab Calloway's, 'Minnie the Moocher' have at times enjoyed great popularity they leave me cold. 'Never No Lament' is a pointer to how Billy Strayhorn's arranging provided another exciting facet to the Ellington band. The Dorsey band's 'Marie' has fine solos by Bunny Berigan, Dorsey and Bud Freeman and Basie's ' Robbin's Nest' features one of the many acknowledged saxophone players of that period - Paul Gonsalves.

As the disc progresses towards the music of the 50s, via the inevitable Glenn Miller, the post-war sound really begins to emerge as shown in Dizzy's rendition of Tad Dameron's 'Good Bait.' Having said that the 'Loop' which according to the accompanying notes 'is a tribute to the many great big bands in Chicago in the 30s' is typical of the Sauter-Finegan quirky arrangements - and in saying that I have to include Joe Venuto's xylophone playing.

This is an interesting compilation and, besides featuring the bands as a whole, shows the diversity of the arrangers and obvious talent of the individuals who played in them. Many, because of the demise of the big bands, later went on to enjoy successful careers as solo musicians.

Jack Ashby


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