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ALBUM REVIEWS

Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra: 1944-45 Broadcasts

Read "1944-45 Broadcasts" reviewed by Jack Bowers

LIonel Hampton, the first musician to establish the vibraphone as a viable component of Jazz instrumentation, was (with Red Norvo) one of its acknowledged monarchs when these air–check performances were recorded in 1944–45, mostly for the benefit of U.S. servicemen at home and abroad. Hamp was a product of the Swing Era and his bands always swung, powered in this case by such capable sidemen as trumpeters Snooky Young and Cat Anderson, Texas tenor Arnett Cobb, trombonist Booty Wood, pianist ...

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Harry James and His Orchestra: 1942-43 Broadcasts with Helen Forrest

Read "1942-43 Broadcasts with Helen Forrest" reviewed by Jack Bowers

No list of the most popular dance bands of the ’40s would be complete without the name Harry James whose stylish trumpet and splendid orchestra were featured in a number of films of the period and performed not only on radio but to standing–room–only audiences in casinos and ballrooms from coast to coast. In the early years of the decade, before personal and professional differences got in the way, James employed one of the era’s best known band singers, Helen ...

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Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra: 1943-45 Broadcasts

Read "1943-45 Broadcasts" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Somewhere between the enduring Swing Era “superstars” (Ellington, Basie, Miller, the Dorsey brothers, Harry James, Artie Shaw) and the scarcely remembered “regional bands” stood such enormously popular (and talented) but relatively short–lived “second tier” orchestras as those led by Fletcher Henderson, Don Redman, Chick Webb, Andy Kirk, Jay McShann, Jimmie Lunceford and others. Lunceford’s ensemble was at its peak in the mid– to late–’30s before the great arranger Sy Oliver left to join the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. These performances, taped ...

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Ted Weems and His Orchestra: More 1940 "Beat the Band" Shows

Read "More 1940 "Beat the Band" Shows" reviewed by Jack Bowers

While there may not be many people walking around today who even remember the Ted Weems Orchestra, there are a great number, I’d wager, who remember his male vocalist, a fellow named Perry Como, who passed away in May six days before his eighty–ninth birthday. Some may even recall the band’s other vocalist, Marva (later to become film star Marilyn) Maxwell, or Weems’ best–known “intrumentalist,” the unrivaled whistler, Elmo Tanner, who helped make “Heartaches” a mega–hit for Weems and the ...

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The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live from the Inn Club, Chicago, IL, January 11, 1957

Read "Live from the Inn Club, Chicago, IL, January 11, 1957" reviewed by Jack Bowers

By January 1957, when this concert date was recorded at the Inn Club in Chicago, Gene Krupa’s salad days as a member of the Benny Goodman Orchestra and leader of his own big bands were behind him, but he remained a major figure on the Jazz scene, even though his flamboyant style of drumming, once considered state–of–the–art (at least in the public’s mind), had been overshadowed by the incomparable Buddy Rich and such be–bopping innovators as Kenny Clarke, Max Roach, ...

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Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra: March / June 1940 Broadcasts to South America

Read "March / June 1940 Broadcasts to South America" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra, which had gone into a mild decline in the late ’30s, was by 1940 making a strong comeback owing largely to the addition of several key ingredients — star trumpeter Bunny Berigan, whose alcoholism hadn’t as yet subverted his playing; drummer Buddy Rich, late of the Artie Shaw orchestra; the consummate swing arranger, Sy Oliver, lured away from the Jimmie Lunceford band; and a slender young vocalist from Hoboken, New Jersey, by way of the Harry James ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bobby Sherwood & His Orchestra: 1942-45 Live Broadcasts with Zoot Sims

Read "1942-45 Live Broadcasts with Zoot Sims" reviewed by Jack Bowers

When the first of these radio broadcasts by trumpeter / guitarist Bobby Sherwood’s orchestra was recorded in December 1942, tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims (featured on Gershwin’s “The Man I Love”) had recently celebrated his seventeenth birthday, which makes his solo on that number the more remarkable. Alas, by the time of the second air–check, in January 1945, Zoot was no longer a member of the orchestra and personnel including soloists aren’t identified. This means that the album’s subtitle, 1942–45 Live ...


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