Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Big Banding, part 7

Here's another in my hunt for good one-disk samplers covering a selection of classic big bands from the '20s, '30s and '40s with decent sound, representative material and a reasonable price.

"Billy Eckstine and his Orchestra 1946-47," Classics. You want it because, while I like Eckstine's voice, which is more Bobby Darin pop than Joe Williams blues, he also had a heck of a backing band over this two years. That includes, at times, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Criss, Gene Ammons, Wardell Gray and Fats Navarro, which accounts for the memorable, if short, solos on songs such as "The Jitney Man" and the bop hit "Oo Bop Sh' Bam," remade here big band style. Great playing and singing on "In the Still of the Night," one place where Eckstine lets you know he is, in fact, a baritone. "Jelly Jelly" drips the blues and "She's Got the Blues for Sale" is swing city, man.

Follow the links to my suggestions for disks featuring the bands of Jay McShann or Glenn Miller or Claude Thornhill or Chick Webb or Benny Goodman or Fletcher Henderson or Earl Hines or Andy Kirk.

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