The Big Band Alumni Association: Platinum Swing (2003)
On Platinum Swing, the Association revisits the Swing Era with a handful of hits from the period and other songs that embody the same temperament. The sequence seems roughly chronological, starting with Woody Herman's theme, "Woodchopper's Ball," and moving forward to the arrangement of Cole Porter's "Love for Sale" introduced by the Buddy Rich band and a staple from the Count Basie library, Sammy Nestico's gently swaying "Warm Breeze."
Much of the music is danceable, and conductor/arranger Randy Van Horne has, for the most part, emphasized harmony instead of heat, although the temperature does warm up toward the end, starting with "Love for Sale."
Unfortunately, that's the point at which my copy of the disc began to show signs of an imperfection, which became progressively worse through the remainder of the program as the music skipped repeatedly from there on. I trust that was an aberration and that other copies will be problem-free (but I can't vouch for it).
There are three vocals, two by sultry Nancy Osborne ("This Masquerade," "It's So Nice to Have a Man Around the House"), the other by Michael Dees ("Lonely Places"). Even though the ensemble is given prominence, there are a handful of brief but effective passages by unnamed soloists. I think most of the tenor solos are by former Les Brown standout Dave Pell (who's listed in the notes as having played with Herman, Goodman and James but not with Brown's Band of Renown!).
For those who miss the Swing Era, here's a charming time capsule designed for your pleasure by some of those who were there the first time around.
Contact: The Big Band Alumni Association, P.O. Box 18875, Encino, CA 91416-8875, www.alumniband.homestead.com or Hitchcock Media, 1625 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046. Phone 323-656-0757; www.hitchcock-media.com/Artists/bba.html
Track Listing: Woodchopper's Ball; Charmaine; So What's New; Say It Isn't So; Rattle and Roll; Lonely Places; Here We Go Again; Scott's Place; It's So Nice to Have a Man Around the House; Let Yourself Go; Love for Sale; Warm Breeze; This Masquerade; Puttin' on the Ritz; Closing Theme (56:35).
Personnel: Randy Van Horne, conductor, arranger; George Kenny, Lon Norman, trombone, arranger; John Setar, Ethmer Roten, alto sax, flute, clarinet; Larry Covelli, tenor sax, clarinet; Ira Schulman, Dave Pell, tenor, baritone sax; Ron Smith, Jim Amlotte, Barney Liddell, trombone; John Fick, Fred Koyen, Jack Feierman, Howard "Hotsy" Katz, trumpet; Bill Casilli, piano; Al Vecovo, guitar; George "Geo" Valle, bass; Johnny Vana, percussion; Nancy Osborne, Michael Dees, vocals.
Record Label: Independent Records