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Album Review

Horace Henderson Orchestra: At the Trianon Ballroom, 1954


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Horace Henderson Orchestra: At the Trianon Ballroom, 1954
During what turned out to be an abortive attempt to recapture its glory days, Chicago's Trianon Ballroom reopened and booked a very good Horace Henderson Orch. into the once highly popular, ornate dance palace. This CD has some of the music from three nights of Orchestra's stand during July of 1954 culled from two broadcasts and one from a tape made by Dr. Arthur Love. As these sessions reveal, this was a fine aggregation populated by excellent musicians playing tight Henderson arrangements. Some of the band's notable members included trumpet player Hobart Dotson, tenor sax man Jimmy Forrest of "Night Train" fame and Eddie Calhoun on bass. While the band played dance music, there was some modern material coming out of the group like the bop alto solo by Goon Gardner on "Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder" and Jimmy Forrest's tenor on "T in the Red Book". Duke Ellington compositions are mixed in with pieces by Dizzy Gillespie and Arnett Cobb. The band also had a couple of good singers. Eddy Williams, who doubled on tenor, does a good Nat King Cole like rendition of the novelty tune "What's It to You, Jack?". Jean Cunningham shows up especially well on "The Glory of Love" with a deeper voice than some of the male singers in the group. But it's the strong ensemble playing that makes this outfit worth paying attention to. This strength is evident on such tunes as "`Tis Autumn" which also features a pleasant Bill Kenny like vocal by George Reed.

IAJRC is to be complimented for preserving this excellent big band music from one of the premier dance spots in the country. Not only is the music good, but the announcements are revealing as well. The announcer emphasizes throughout that the ballroom's "new" policy welcomes "everybody". This is a not so veiled reference to the fact that Afro Americans will now be allowed entrance. That wasn't enough to save the place. Dancing ended shortly thereafter and the place was used as a flea market and for other non dancing related activities. It was finally torn down in 1967.

Track Listing

Let's Spend an Evening at Home; Artistry Jumps; Satin Doll; Answer Me, My Love; What's It To You, Jack?; Knock Me a Kiss; Midnight Sun; Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder (For Somebody Else); Let's Spend an Evening at Home; Cobb's Idea; `Tis Autumn; T in the Red Book; The Glory of Love; Medley: Prelude to a Kiss/Mood Indigo; Unison Trumpets; Let's Spend an Evening at Home; Four Brothers; Poinciana; Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder (For Somebody Else); Ray's Idea; Unidentified Tune; Moonlight in Vermont; Cobb's Idea


Horace Henderson - Leader/Piano/Arranger; Gail Brockman, Hobart Dotson - Trumpet; Porter Kilbert, Goon Gardner - Alto Sax; Moses Grant, Jimmy Forrest - Tenor Sax; Eddy Williams - Tenor Sax/Vocals; Pat Patrick - Baritone Sax; Eddie Calhoun - Bass/Vocals; Jean Cunningham, George Reed - Vocals/Drums

Album information

Title: At the Trianon Ballroom, 1954 | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: IAJRC

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