cover images ©2009 Star Line Productions Inc.
COMPACT DISC REVIEWS
"Glenn Miller 'Live' in Chicago," Mr. Music MMCD-7025
"Tommy Dorsey 'Live' and Swingin' High," Mr. Music MMCD-7023
"Stan Kenton 'Live'," Mr. Music MMCD-7026
Some nicely-done compact disc releases for big band collectors have been coming out on Wayne Knight's Mr. Music label, and three more were recently added.
Knight, who previously gave us such high-quality collectors' LP imprints as Giants of Jazz and Sounds Great, as well as Star Line audiocassettes, switched to releasing CDs beginning in 1995 on Mr. Music, including the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band 1943-45 V-Disc sessions (MMCD-7001 and 7002), Stan Kenton on the air from Hollywood in 1944 (MMCD-7007), rare broadcast performances made in 1938 by Paul Whiteman and His Chesterfield Orchestra with guests Artie Shaw and Bobby Hackett (MMCD-7008), and Harry James and His New Jazz Band of 1956 (MMCD-7010 and 7012).
Then, in 2001, everything stopped - nothing more was released on Mr. Music until the summer of 2008, when Knight started a new run, headlined "A Series Live From the Vaults," of such bands as Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Gene Krupa, and Woody Herman.
The latest titles offer music by Glenn Miller's civilian outfit, Tommy Dorsey, and more Stan Kenton.
Miller is heard from the stage of the Chicago Civic Theater during June and July 1940, with such selections as Jerry Gray's arrangement of Everybody Loves My Baby; Boog-It, sung by Marion Hutton; A Handful of Stars, with a vocal by Ray Eberle; and two medleys in full, Goodnight Sweetheart / I'm Stepping Out with a Memory Tonight / When My Baby Smiles At Me / A Blues Serenade and My Darling / Blueberry Hill / I Can't Get Started / Blue (and Brokenhearted).
Dorsey performs material taken from two Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) "One Night Stand" shows (#603, February 3, 1945; and #533, February 25, 1945). Among the tunes are Hawaiian War Chant and three Sy Oliver originals, The Minor Goes Muggin', Swing High, and Opus #1. Trumpeter Charlie Shavers, clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, and drummer Buddy Rich were some of the musicians in Dorsey's orchestra that month.
In what becomes the fourth release on Mr. Music by Stan Kenton and His Orchestra, there is much previously-uncirculated music, sourced from two "Concerts in Miniature Encore" sessions at the Hollywood Palladium, on January 12 and 27, 1953, taped for airing on NBC Radio. The selections include such favorites as Taboo, Jump for Joe, and Minor Riff, along with lesser-known pieces like Aestate On Clark Street, Walkin' Shoes, and Round Robin. (The music was taped without an audience.)
Each of these new CDs has fine sound and is packaged simply, but attractively, with liner notes and full personnel listings.
But there are a couple mistakes scattered among them, such as the photo supposedly showing the Miller band at the Panther Room of the Hotel Sherman (the picture is from the Cafe Rouge of the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City) and crediting the Any Old Time which Dorsey plays to "Shaw" (this is a different song).
Also, if it had been me, I'd have added a slight touch of color to the names of the bandleaders on each cover.
Big Band Library ratings:
performances EXCELLENT / productions VERY GOOD
MORE NEW COMPACT DISCS
Tommy Dorsey, "Tommy Dorsey and His Clambake Seven: Complete Recordings 1935-
39," Jasmine ( UK ) 539 [ 2-CD set ].
Duke Ellington, "The Treasury Shows Vol.14," Storyville ( Den ) 903 9014 [ 2-CDs; contains
show #s 26, 27, and part of 28, recorded in Oct. 1945 ].
Ralph Flanagan, "Ballroom Memories," Montpellier ( UK ) MONTCD058 [ the 1956 album
"1001 Nighters" (RCA Victor LPM-1274) plus 11 other songs ].
Ralph Marterie, "Easy Does it," Montpellier ( UK ) MONTCD059 [ 19 selections ].
various artists, "Swingtime: The Bands Within the Bands," Jasmine ( UK ) 515 [ 2-CD set;
with Goodman, Shaw, Krupa, Basie, T. Dorsey, Herman, James, and Ellington ].
JUMPIN' WITH THE BIG BANDS
One of Louis Armstrong's early music instruments, normally kept at the Smithsonian's American Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, has been loaned to the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) in Spokane, WA. It will be the centerpiece object in the MAC's "Jumpin' with the Big Bands" exhibit.
"Satchmo played this cornet at the New Orleans Colored Waif's Home, where he lived as a child," it was stated in publicity. "Armstrong first played tambourine in the home's band and rapidly progressed to bugle and then to cornet -- this very cornet . . . The cornet stayed at the home long after Armstrong left, and was used by other students until the 1960s."
The exhibit opens on the 5th of this month and runs through April 24, 2010.
TOP BANDS IN-PERSON
Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Bill Tole: Dec. 6, Cerritos, CA; Dec. 10, Pauls Valley,
OK; Dec. 12, Hartford, WI; Dec. 18-19, Milwaukee, WI [ each date with The Pied Pipers ].
Les Elgart Orchestra directed by Russ Dorsey: Dec. 31, KAAM Radio "New Year's Eve
Celebration," Sheraton Grand DFW Hotel, Irving, TX.
Duke Ellington Orchestra conducted by Paul Mercer Ellington: Dec. 30-31, Austin
Symphony, Austin, TX.
Jan Garber Orchestra directed by Howard Schneider: Dec. 6, Dubuque County
Fairgrounds, Dubuque, IA.
Sammy Kaye Orchestra directed by Roger Thorpe: Dec. 19, Sunnybrook Ballroom,
Pottstown, PA ( NOTE: postponed because of an impending snowstorm, per the Dec.
18 [ Pottstown PA ] Mercury ).
Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians with Al Pierson: Dec. 11, Bentley Village, Naples, FL.
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Larry O'Brien: Dec, 1-13, conclusion of 2009 Japan
tour; Dec. 15, The Army Navy Country Club, Arlington, VA; Dec. 17, Pritchard-Laughlin
Civic Center, Cambridge, OH; Dec. 18, Ritz Theatre, Tiffin, OH; Dec. 19, Lexington
Music Theatre, Lexington, MI; Dec. 20, Riviera Theatre, Three Rivers, MI; Dec. 21,
University of Wisconsin, Kenosha, WI; Dec. 22, Hamilton Fine Arts Center, Sussex, WI.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
Dick Johnson, clarinetist (leader of the Artie Shaw Orchestra '83-'06 ) and alto saxophonist (Spivak '52-'53; Morrow
'56-57), b.Dec. 1, 1925.
Don Sebesky, trombonist (Covington '56; Ferguson '58-'59; Kenton '59) - arranger (Miller-DeFranco '67 [ In the Mod,
Shangri-La, Gone with the Wind, A Stranger in Town, Release Me, 'Round Midnight ]), b.Dec. 10, 1937.
Clark Terry, trumpeter (Hampton '45; Barnet '47-'48 / '58 Everest "Cherokee" LP / '66-'67; Basie '48-'51 / '76 Pablo "Basie
Jam" LP; Ellington '51-'59), b.Dec. 14, 1920.
Abbe Lane, singer (Cugat '50s) - actress, b.Dec. 16, 1932.
Tony Martin, vocalist (Noble '38; Miller AAF '43), b.Dec. 25, 1913.
Pete Rugolo, pianist - composer (Grier '41; Kenton '45-'49), b.Dec. 25, 1915.
Garry Stevens, 93, vocalist (Spivak '41-'43; Miller-Beneke '46-'48), d.Dec. 8, 2009.
Yvonne King, 89, one of The King Sisters vocal group (Shaw "Old Gold show" '39; Rey '39-'80s? ; Arnaz
"Cuban Pete" film short '46), d.Dec. 13, 2009.
Rusty Dedrick, 91, trumpeter (Stabile '38-'39; Norvo '39-'41; Thornhill '41-'42 / '46-'47; McKinley '46; Flanagan
10/13/54 and 10/15/54 RCA Victor sessions), d. Dec. 25, 2009.
IN-PRINT AND / OR ONLINE
Frank Alkyer, editor. DownBeat, the Great Jazz Interviews: a 75th Anniversary Anthology
(Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Books, 2009) [ a compilation of a variety of revealing
interviews including Louis Armstrong ("My Chops Was Beat, but I'm Dyin' to Swing
Again," June 1935); Duke Ellington ("A Black Genius in a White Man's World," Jul. 1936);
Raymond Scott ("Raymond Scott Explains His Compositions," Jul. 1938); Count Basie
("Critics in the Doghouse," Jul. 1939); Woody Herman ("We Were Suckers," Jan. 15,
1941); Benny Goodman ("B.G. Sheds a Tear in the Beer for Yesteryear," June 30, 1954);
Earl Hines ("Bringing Up 'Fatha,'" June 6, 1963); and Buddy Rich ("The Nouveau Rich,"
Apr. 20, 1967) ].
Lisa Black. "Don Roth's Blackhawk clears its last table," Chicago Tribune, Dec. 29, 2009
[ the venue - in Wheeling, IL - was the last of the "Blackhawk" franchises that began with
the original Blackhawk Restaurant at Wabash and Randolph in Chicago where such
big bands as Bob Crosby and Jack Teagarden performed. ]
"Concert brings memories," Pauls Valley [ OK ] Daily Democrat, Dec. 20, 2009 [ chatting
with The Pied Pipers and Bill Tole following a performance by The Jimmy Dorsey
Tony Eaton. "What's New?," [ Glenn Miller Society ] Moonlight Serenader, Number 324 /
4th Edition 2009, p.6 [ mentions that Dame Vera Lynn, now age 93, writes in her
autobiography Some Sunny Day (Harper Collins, 2009) that it was a "great honour" to
have sung on a radio broadcast with Glenn Miller; and that the Sunday Express
Bookshop has added Hunton Downs' The Glenn Miller Conspiracy: The never-before-
told true story of his life - and death (Global Book Publishers, 2009) to its list of
"recommended reading" ].
Tony Eaton and Colin Farmer. "Hunton Downs Quizzed By GMS," [ Glenn Miller Society ]
Moonlight Serenader, Number 324 / 4th Edition 2009, pp.9-11 [ an exclusive follow-up
to Downs' book, about which Downs states, "I am convinced that what I have written is
the truth." ].
Colin Farmer. "More members abroad than in Britain," [ Glenn Miller Society ] Moonlight
Serenader, Number 324 / 4th Edition 2009, p.11 [ short but interesting article that,
besides Britain and the USA, the Society is truly an international organization, with
members in Sweden, Germany, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, South Africa,
Argentina, etc. ].
---. "Salden's Band Ends 23-Concert Tour of Eastern Europe," [ Glenn Miller Society ]
Moonlight Serenader, Number 324 / 4th Edition 2009, p.1 [ a summary of the successful
tour by The (European) Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Wil Salden to Russia and
"Former Glenn Miller band member still swinging," Bakersfield [CA ] now.com, Dec. 25,
2009 [ about 89-year-old trumpeter Whitey Thomas (Miller AAF '43-'45; Miller Orch-
Beneke '46-'50) ].
John McDonough. "Books: Gathering Satchmo," DownBeat, Dec. 2009, p.83 [ reviews of
the book Satchmo: The Wonderful World and Art of Louis Armstrong and the Jazz
Heritage 2-CD set "Louis Armstrong: Fleischmann's Yeast Show / Louis'
Home-Recorded Tapes" ].
Brian Morton. "Gene Krupa: Unsung colourist," Jazz Journal, Vol.62 No.10 / Dec. 2009,
Rob Owen. "Preserving WQED footage leads to plenty of surprises," Pittsburgh [ PA ]
Post-Gazette, Dec. 25, 2009 [ discusses an initiative to digitize early public
broadcasting television footage, including a Louis Armstrong interview ].
Jamie Parker. "Special Japan 2009 Tour Edition!," On the Road with your favorite bands
(Glenn Miller Orchestra Newsletter #085), pp.4-6 [ Parker, a trombonist with the Miller
band directed by Larry O'Brien, recounts their latest trip to Japan ].
Howard Reich. "DownBeat magazine's 75-year history is one for the books," Chicago
Tribune, Dec. 29, 2009 [ He writes, "Seventy-five years ago, a new Chicago publication
began chronicling a fast-growing music: the big bands . . . [ DownBeat ] remains
central to jazz journalism . . . ].
Robert J. Robbins. "The USA CD Scene: Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band I'm Beboppin'
Too (Half Note 4540), Big Bands International, No.129 / Nov. 2009, pp.21-22 [ Robbins
reviews the third release by the Gillespie ensemble ].
Claire Schwartz. "Shaye Cogan Tribute," Vaughn Monroe Society, vaughnmonroesociety.
org, Dec. 12, 2009 [ a brief remembrance of Cogan, who sang with Monroe's band in the
early 1950s ].
Herb Stark. "Sinatra legacy lives on," Chicago Tribune, Dec. 4, 2009 [ letter-to-the-editor
which mentions forthcoming CDs from two former Ralph Flanagan vocalists, Peggy
King ("Peggy King...Still Swingin'") and Harry Prime ("Four Big Bands...One Big
Roland Taylor. "Miller's Mighty Service Band: The ensemble in focus," [ Glenn Miller
Society ] Moonlight Serenader, Number 324 / 4th Edition 2009, pp.2-6 [ a continuing
chronological study, now into mid-Jul. 1944 ].
Michael P. Zirpolo. "Bunny Berigan Mr. Trumpet: Making It in Manhattan," IAJRC Journal,
Dec. 2009, pp.40-52 [ chapter of a forthcoming biography of Berigan ].
send feedback about December 2009 "Big Band News" via e-mail