159

Big Bands on Radio 1933-52: The Music of Harold Arlen

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
As one would envision from an anthology spanning a twenty–year period that preceded the advent of modern recording techniques and apparatus, sound quality varies widely on these radio air–checks from 1933 (Benny Goodman / Jack Teagarden, “I Got a Right to Sing the Blues”) to 1955 (the Dorsey brothers, “Let’s Fall in Love”). Of the sixteen selections (including two medleys), three are from the ’30s, eleven from the ’40s and two from the ’50s (Les Brown’s “Ill Wind” from ’52 and the Dorsey brothers track, which, unless the date is in error, must have been passed over when the album was designated 1933–52 ). All of the songs are by the wonderful Harold Arlen, and most are readily familiar, even though Arlen himself has faded into an undeserved semi–obscurity. Almost any music–lover can hum (or even sing) “That Old Black Magic,” “Let’s Fall in Love” or “Over the Rainbow,” but how many can name the author? Arlen’s compositions, among the finest ever produced in Tin Pan Alley, were widely played and appropriately praised during their time, and most have hung around to become what are referred to today as standards. Besides Goodman, Brown and the Dorseys, orchestras represented here include those led by Glenn Miller, Bob Crosby, Stan Kenton, Harry James, Raymond Scott, Woody Herman and Duke Ellington. Not a shabby cross–section of renowned big bands, nor are the vocalists — Teagarden, Herman, Dick Haymes, Ray Eberle, Johnny Mercer, Dinah Shore, June Christy, Dorothy Collins, Frances Wayne, Helen Forrest and Johnny Desmond. There are two versions of Arlen / Ted Koehler’s “Now I Know,” the first by the Ellington orchestra at New York’s Hurricane Club, the other (sung in German!) by Desmond from a 1944 “propaganda broadcast” by Glenn Miller’s orchestra (we were at war then, remember?). It’s interesting that the Herman orchestra’s treatment of “June Comes Around Every Year” is introduced by the emcee as “a Johnny Mercer tune” (Mercer wrote the lyrics, as he did for a number of other “Harold Arlen tunes”). It seems that even in 1945 Arlen, much like Rodney Dangerfield today, got no respect. Be that as it may, this is a pleasant stroll down memory lane and an explicit reminder of what a marvelous songwriter Harold Arlen was.

Track listing: Accentuate the Positive; I Got a Right to Sing the Blues; That Old Black Magic; This Time the Dream’s on Me; Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea; As Long as I Live; Let’s Fall in Love; Over the Rainbow; Hooray for Love / What’s Good About Goodbye / For Every Man There’s a Woman; My Shining Hour; Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Joe; Fancy Meeting You; Now I Know (Ellington); Now I Know (Glenn Miller); June Comes Around Every Year / I’ve Got the World on a String; Ill Wind (64:27).

Personnel:

Orchestras led by Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Bob Crosby, Jack Teagarden, the Dorsey Brothers, Stan Kenton, Harry James, Raymond Scott, Woody Herman, Duke Ellington and Les Brown.

Contact: Reflections, Absalongade 21A 3th DK

| Record Label: Reflections | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Finding Love in an Oligarchy on a Dying Planet" CD/LP/Track Review Finding Love in an Oligarchy on a Dying Planet
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: March 23, 2016
Read "Live At the Stone" CD/LP/Track Review Live At the Stone
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "Tyrant Lizard" CD/LP/Track Review Tyrant Lizard
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "Love Song" CD/LP/Track Review Love Song
by Tyran Grillo
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "Play All the Notes" CD/LP/Track Review Play All the Notes
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 8, 2016
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: January 19, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!