Here’s a delightful mix of big-band Jazz, dance music and assorted odds and ends from 1948-51, courtesy of Great Britain’s longest-lived and most honored orchestra: Ted Heath and His Music. The album’s twenty-five selections comprise a number of standards from the Great American Songbook, Latin and European melodies, novelty tunes (“Rag Mop,” “Tequila,” “Post Horn Boogie”) and Jazz works by Ellington (“Sophisticated Lady”), Tadd Dameron (“Lyonia,” “Lady Bird”), Charlie Ventura / Roy Kral (“Euphoria”), Denzil Best (“Move”) and Tiny Kahn (the incendiary “Father Knickerbopper”). These efforts show that Heath’s was not only the country’s most electrifying and talented large ensemble, but its most versatile as well, as it segues effortlessly from the lightweight “Tequila” to the far more demanding “Move” and “Knickerbopper.” Heath employed many of England’s finest Jazz musicians (among those listed here are trumpeters Kenny Baker, Stan Roderick, Ronnie Hughes and Bobby Pratt; saxophonists Reg Owen, Tommy Whittle, Roy Willox, Henry Mackenzie and Dave Shand, pianist Frank Horrox and drummer Jack Parnell). Even though solos are necessarily brief (to accommodate the 78-rpm limits, no track runs longer than three minutes), they are no less well-built and persuasive. Heath’s topnotch staff of arrangers included Owen, John Dankworth, Eric Jupp, Reg Briggs, Norman Stenfalt, George Shearing, Bruce Campbell, Wally Stott and Phil Bates. Kahn arranged “Knickerbopper,” Dameron “Euphoria,” Dankworth “Move,” Shearing “Lady Bird.” The album’s monaural sound, digitally remastered from the 78s by Ted Kendall, is clean and bright, its 68:40 running time quite generous. For fans of Ted Heath and His Music, another Nice One!
Contact: Memoir Records Ltd., P.O. Box 66, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 25A, United Kingdom. Web site: www.memoir.demon.co.uk .