I've been enjoying some modern large group jazz, like Bob Brookmeyer's "Get Well Soon," as I mentioned here recently. Then, I had to renew my library card and I noticed that my library had acquired Ken Burns' "Jazz" on DVD. I hadn't seen the series since it first aired so I decided to take another look and went through every episode over a period of a few weeks.
That, and the new stuff I'd been listening to, got me psyched to add some classic big band recordings to my collection, which has been pretty much limited, with a few exceptions, to Count Basie and Duke Ellington. My goal: find good disks covering a selection of other significant big bands from the '20s, '30s and '40s with decent sound, representative material and a reasonable price. I wasn't looking for anything like exhaustive box sets, just nice one-CD samplers.
First up, No. 187 in the EPM Jazz Archives series "Kansas City Bounce" covering various groups led by pianist Jay McShann from 1940-49. Get it because about the first third of the tracks feature a young alto saxophonist named Charlie Parker. But don't stop listening after Bird books. McShann ran a lot of top-flight crews and had some other significant players (Paul Quinichette and Ben Webster for two) and his groups had that wonderful blues-inflected Kansas City thing made famous by another guy out of K.C., fella name of Bill Basie.
Follow the links to my suggestions for disks featuring the bands of Follow the links to my suggestions for disks featuring the bands of Glenn Miller or Claude Thornhill or Chick Webb or Benny Goodman or Fletcher Henderson or Billy Eckstine or Earl Hines or Andy Kirk.