Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Bandstand Memories 1938-48
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
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Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear
Robert C. Topper | Richardson, Texas | 09/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have long sought out examples of non-commercial recordings of the big bands to add to my collection. Many record labels are now joining Hindsight in releasing live radio broadcasts and transcription recordings to fulfill this niche in the market. In part, I like to hear different solos and different arrangements of numbers that band may have recorded in the studio, but I also like to hear tunes which never were done by a particular band for commercial release. More significantly, the big bands were primarily dance bands, and the natural setting for them to perform was in front of a crowd dancing to their music.This 3-CD set contains radio broadcasts by the Harry James band made over a decade from 1938 to 1948. Among them are some with Frank Sinatra, including what may have been his first recording of "Star Dust". Dick Haymes, Connie Haines, Helen Forrest and Kitty Kallen also contribute vocally. In my opinion, Kitty Kallen on the commercial recordings so often seemed to be trying to live up to her nickname as "Pretty Kitty"; on these live broadcasts, she lets her hair down and really digs into the tunes. Her versions Buy That Dream" far surpass the Columbia ones. There are too many other outstanding performances here to describe them all, but I want to mention one in particular. "Perdido" has been my favorite tune since I was a teenager, but I hadn't heard the definitive version of it until now. Here is an arrangement Juan Tizol did for the band (he was playing in it at the time) which I can't get enough of. This is not the arrangement James later recorded for Columbia; multiple cheers to Hindsight for presenting it to us.Liner notes on this set are excellent also. Not only do they identify the vocalists and the soloists, but also the date and location of the broadcasts. In addition, they note the arrangers and whether this arrangement or this tune was ever done commercially. Also mentioned are other commercial recordings of that particular tune that James did later. Altogether, a worthy addition to anyone's collection"
Hot Horn Harry takes the lead
Roel Abels | Groningen, Netherlands | 09/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This boxed set of three cd`s gives you a marvelous insight look in what the leading trumpeter-one-of-the nation did stand for between 1939 and 1948. On it you`ll find broadcast and radiotranscriptions which were preserved and treasured by Harry`s
manager of the period, Pee Wee Monte. It took the people of Hindsight records hours and hours of painstakingly restoring the music in order to bring it to us on this box.
On account of this, you`ll hear for the first time the wild, enthousiastic bunch of guys of the first James orchestra of 1939. Financially speaking, James was struggling to hold his first band together. Musically speaking, this was probably the
best band he`d ever led, excluding his 1947-50 and 1957-62 band. A real treat on this box, is that Frank Sinatra is present on seven live recorded tracks from 1939. You`ll even hear him struggeling through the opening bars of `The Lamp Is Low`.
Another unexpected treat is a radio intervieuw from march 1940
with Harry James talking on the subject of leading a band, his favourite sport Baseball and his engagement at the Southland Cafe in Boston. Presented on the second cd are his big hits of the 1942-45 period, sung by the most outstanding bigband girl singer of them all, Helen Forrest. Besides the more commercial output of the James band at this time, Harry dared to play a extremely difficult Billy Strayhorn tune in public: `Chelsea Bridge`, a number he never recorded commercially. From about 1945 we see that the jazz content of his repertoire increases and Harry hires some first class jazz improvisators for his band, such as altoist Willie Smith, trombonist Juan Tizol and pianist Arnold Ross.
At the beginning of 1948 he drops his large string section in order to concentrate on playing only non-commercial jazz with a huge amount of bebop influences in it. An example of this you`ll get when you listen to the last track on the box in `Caravan`, with Harry playing a bold bebop inspired solo. I think trumpeter Jon Faddis should have embouchure problems with this one.
This box is more than worth five stars all the way and could be the beginning of your renewed interest in the world of Harry James."
Kathryn Musso Lacey | Today -Georgia, next month-Moriah NY | 02/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"James brings back memories of sweetheart long gone. I am also looking for Helen Forrest-James Make Love to Me. Can anyone help? Today's young romantics should listen to those old lyrics - melting moments -"