Naturally, much of the Lunceford's greatest material is here, such as My Blue Heaven, Margie, Rhythm Is Our Business, Sleepy Time Gal, Swanee River, For Dancers Only, and Organ Grinder's Swing, with talented sidemen including trumpeters Paul Webster and Gerald Wilson; trombonist Trummy Young; saxophonists Willie Smith and Joe Thomas; pianist Ed Wilcox; drummer Jimmy Crawford; and arrangers Sy Oliver and Eddie Durham.
Wilson, still alive at age 92, comments, "At the time I joined Jimmie Lunceford's band, they could outdraw any band in the country. Benny Goodman? We were more popular than Benny Goodman!...We could outdraw any band in the country. They [ Lunceford's outfit ] were the forerunners, between swing and bebop. They were right there. And their records prove this. One of the greatest bands of all time."
Of sonic note, Mosaic was forced to employ mint-condition vinyl recordings from private collectors for much of the source material. "The discs used for this release came from commercially released 78s and vinyl test pressings as a majority of the original Decca metal parts no longer exist in the Universal Music vaults," it is explained. Matrix 61552-B, Honest and Truly, recorded January 26, 1937, was located only on the Decca Jazz Heritage LP "For Dancers Only" (DL 79239) in "simulated stereo." A dozen of Lunceford's World transcription selections, made in Decca's studios in 1944, evidently had to be sourced from Circle CLP 92, and five more of his 1944-45 tracks had to be sourced from, surprisingly, one of the Chronological Classics CDs.
The liner notes to the Mosaic set, penned by Eddy Determeyer, researcher and author of the Lunceford biography Rhythm Is Our Business, offer a fine summary of the band's history. "Lunceford’s Decca period began in 1934, and coincided with his booking at The Cotton Club, an important launch pad for so many bands of the Swing Era," Determeyer explains. "It was a reputation-making engagement for Lunceford whose dedication to expert musicianship, was something you’d expect from a man who had been a music educator before taking his former high school band on tour. His line-up remained intact through much of its span, which helped fuse the Lunceford style. He was also a consummate showman, who rehearsed his band endlessly through blistering ensemble sections while incorporating visually enthralling choreography that included the trumpets throwing their horns into the air in unison and catching them on cue."
The very generous 29 photographs for the booklet include some images never-before-seen from the Joe Thomas archives held at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Library.
I imagine that this set will be wildly successful - and the pressing is limited to 5,000 copies - perhaps Mosaic will next offer the Lunceford Columbia and Vocalion sides, which were once collected in a boxed LP set by CBS France but, other than a single Sony CD and the variable Classics "Chronological" series, have not been as widely available on compact disc.
Big Band Library rating: EXCELLENT
MORE NEW COMPACT DISCS
Count Basie. "Chairman of the Board," Essential Jazz Classics EJC 55518. The 1958
Roulette album "Chairman of the Board" (SR 52032) plus bonus tracks.
Duke Ellington. "Duke Ellington at The Crystal Gardens, Salem Oregon 1952," Hep [ UK ]
92/93. Tunes include Fancy Dan, Warm Valley, Blues at Sundown, and Trumpets No
Woody Herman. "The Three Herds," Poll Winners Records 27275. The compilation LP
"The Three Herds" (Columbia CL 592) plus 14 additional tunes.
Stan Kenton. "Dance Date 1958," Sounds of YesterYear [ UK ] DSOY 862. Taped live at
The Rendezvous Ballroom, Balboa Beach, California.
Red Nichols. "Complete Brunswick Sessions Volume 1-3," Jazz Oracle [ UK ] 8062.
---. "Complete Brunswick Sessions Volume 4-6," Jazz Oracle [ UK ] 8063. 3-CD set.
---. "Complete Brunswick Sessions Volume 7-9," Jazz Oracle [ UK ] 8064. 3-CD set.
Various artists. "Winter Wonderland - A Christmas Celebration," Jasmine [ UK ] 149.
2-CD set incl. Waring; Lombardo; others.
NEW APPEARANCES BY THE NAME BANDS
Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians directed by Al Pierson. Aug. 7, Surf Ballroom, Clear
Jan Garber Orchestra directed by Howard Schneider. Aug. 28, Col Ballroom, Davenport,
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Gary Tole. Aug. 2, Celeste Center, Ohio State Fair,
Columbus, OH; Aug. 3, Coney Island Park, Cincinnati, OH; Aug. 5, Dogwood Center for
the Performing Arts, Fremont, MI; Aug. 7, Two Rivers Community Center, Two Rivers,
WI; Aug. 9, Palais Royale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Aug. 11, Harkness Memorial
Park, Waterford, CT; Aug. 13, Spanish Ballroom, Glen Echo Park, Glen Echo, MD; Aug.
16, Night Town, Cleveland Heights, OH; Aug. 17, Gilly's, Dayton, OH; Aug. 18, private,
Cincinnati Country Club, Cincinnati, OH; Aug. 19-20, Conner Prairie, Fishers, IN; Aug.
21, Munster High School, Munster, IN; Aug. 23, Historic Crockett Theatre, Lawrenceburg,
TN; Aug. 25, Lookout Lake Bed & Breakfast, Chattanooga, TN; Aug. 29, Chevy Court,
New York State Fair, Syracuse, NY.
GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA EN MEXICO
Glenn Miller Productions is once again sending a "special unit" of The Glenn Miller Orchestra, directed by Rick Gerber, into Mexico.
Of course, besides the famous Miller warhorses, they'll likely include such songs as Say "Si Si," Perfidia, and Adios.
The band arrives on the 18th of this month, then begins a series of appearances including Aug. 19, Teatro B. Abad in Cuautitlan; Aug. 20, Fiesta Latina in Ecatepec; Aug. 21, M. Doblado in Leon; Aug. 23, T. Metropolitan in Mexico DF; Aug. 26, Teatro Galerias in Guadalajara; Aug. 27, T. De La Paz in San Luis Potosi; and Aug. 28, at the Convention Center in Fresnillo. They depart Mexico on the 29th.
BEST WISHES ON YOUR BIRTHDAY
Urbie Green, b.August 8, 1926. Trombonist with Savitt; Carle '45; Krupa '47 / '50 and leader
of T. Dorsey Orch. '66-'67.
Frank Capp, b.August 20, 1931. Drummer with Kenton '51; Hefti '52.
Peter Appleyard, b.August 26, 1928. Vibraphonist with Goodman '71-'77.
Med Flory, b.August 17, 1926. Saxophonist with Thornhill '50; Mooney '52?; Herman '53 /
Jerry Dodgion, b.August 19, 1932. Alto saxophonist with Carter '55; Goodman '59-'60 /
'61 / '62.
NEW IN-PRINT AND / OR ONLINE
Adam Alonzo. "Glenn Miller Orchestra is back - with changes," Dayton [ OH ] Daily News,
Aug. 13, 2011. Commenting on some of the fresh faces in the Miller Orchestra, Tole
observes, "The new musicians bring more energy and enthusiasm to the show, and
they attract a younger audience as well."
Brian Belton. "B.B.'s Big Band Beat," In Tune International, No. 234 / August 2011, p.34.
Reviews of recent Ellington and Goodman CDs.
Aaron Cohen. "Revolution in Blue: Duke Ellington's 1930s Brunswick, Columbia And
Master Recordings Broke New Musical, Social Ground," DownBeat, Aug. 2011, p.36.
Critics voted Mosaic's latest Ellington CD set as "Historical Jazz Album of the Year."
"DownBeat Hall of Fame," DownBeat, Aug. 2011, p.34. Complete list of - thus far - 127
Hall of Famers, including Armstrong, Basie, Carter, Eckstine, Eldridge, Ellington,
Ferguson, Gillespie, Goodman, Hampton, C. Hawkins, Henderson, Herman, Hines,
Kenton, Krupa, Lunceford, Miller, Rich, Shaw, Teagarden, Venuti, Waller, Webb, and
Tony Eaton. "Enjoyable But ....?," [ International Glenn Miller Society ] Moonlight Serenader,
Number 331 2nd Edition 2011, p.1+. Eaton reviews a recent performance by The
Glenn Miller Orchestra (UK). While he writes that the band was good, he explains ways
that it could be so much better.
---. "News Review," [ International Glenn Miller Society ] Moonlight Serenader, Number 331
2nd Edition 2011, pp.6-7. Eaton discusses two upcoming Miller "anniversary" concerts
and other items.
---. "On Release," [ International Glenn Miller Society ] Moonlight Serenader, Number 331
2nd Edition 2011, p.7+. Reviews of recent CDs, including several on the Sounds of
Bob Eschliman. "Glenn Miller's Hollywood star to be repaired," southwestiowanews,
Aug. 14, 2011. A missing piece of coral-colored concrete on Miller's "Walk of Fame"
star, laid down on February 8, 1960 at 6915 Hollywood Blvd., will be fixed.
John McDonough. "Books: Satchmo's Second Act," DownBeat, Aug. 2011, p.77.
Positive review of Ricky Riccardi's book, What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis
Armstrong's Later Years.
---. "Jack Tracy Set DownBeat Critics' Table," DownBeat, Aug. 2011, p.54. Remembering
Tracy, who served as Editor of DownBeat from 1953 to 1958, and who passed away
Dec. 21, 2010 at the age of 84.
Tom Nolan. "Artie Shaw: Restless spirit," Jazz Journal, Volume 64 No.8 / Aug. 2011, p.6.
Shaw's European soujourn is recounted, in an excerpt from Nolan's recent Shaw
Robert W. Rice. "Stateside with Robert W. Rice," In Tune International, No. 234 / August
2011, pp.15-16. Discusses the Kenton DVD produced by Jazzed Media.
Roland Taylor. "Miller's Mighty Service Band: The ensemble in focus," [ International Glenn
Miller Society ] Moonlight Serenader, Number 331 2nd Edition 2011, pp.2-5. His
chronology of Glenn Miller's AAF orchestra continues, now through September 3, 1944.
Anthony Troon. "DVD & Book Reviews: Duke Ellington: Reminiscing in Tempo [ MVD
Visual 5071D ], Jazz Journal, Volume 64 No.8 / Aug. 2011, p.12. Positive review of
the 2005 Ellington documentary by Gary Keys, now available on DVD.
Eloise Marie Valadez. "Glenn Miller Orchestra brings legendary sound to region,"
[ Northwest Indiana ] nwitimes, Aug. 19, 2011. With brief comments by Orchestra
leader Gary Tole, who says, "The Glenn Miller style speaks for itself. It's unique and it's
a wonderful sound. Everybody tries to emulate it but nobody comes close."
Charles D. Verrall. "1956: Ray McKinley fronts the New Miller Band," [ International Glenn
Miller Society ] Moonlight Serenader, Number 331 2nd Edition 2011, p.10+. Re-print
of a report about a June 26, 1956 appearance of The New Glenn Miller Orchestra.
Verrall stated, "A trombone player I also spoke to told me that the band had rehearsed
to some of the AAF Band album recordings and the boys were very glad to be
recreating Miller music."
Susan Whitall. "Music and Nightlife: Jazzfest salutes Detroit's big band era," Detroit [ MI ]
News, Aug. 2, 2011. The Detroit International Jazz Festival, to be held over the Labor
Day weekend in September, will salute Detroit's celebrated big bands of the '20s to
the '60s, including the Jean Goldkette orchestra.