Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Live swing from a great one
Tony Thomas | SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL USA | 03/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have heard these sets and several live air shots of Lunceford and whether he is broadcasting from a Harlem Ballroom or a base filled with white GI's the fans are shouting, hollering, screaming for more. Lunsford was probably the most popular Black swing band leader of his time,. It is sad he's forgotten by so many today.
This was the hot, sweet, but sophisticated, party music of the Swing Era. No one was more popular among Black youth who needed music to party than Lunsford. No one out performed them in their stage show. They were decisive to the shape of big band music with their arrangers setting the pace for many other swing bands for decades after Lunsfords death in the mid 1940s.
When I saw the series that was purported to tell the story of Jazz on PBS a couple years ago, I thought I had missed an episode because there was not a full program about Lunsford, or continual mention of the great band and its decisive influence on Jazz. Then I went to my friend who is one of the planet's major jazz lovers and who videotapes anything broadcast with jazz or good music and asked him about the missing episode. He said there wasn't one. I couldn't believe it, just couldn't.
Jimmie Lunsford's orchestra was one of the great Jazz Bands along with Basie, Ellington, and Chick Webb. In many ways, they were the popular royalty of swing, because they presented a higher level of entertainment and were probably more popular among African Americans than Ellington, and were longer lasting than Basie.
Listen to this music. It's smooth, cool, fun, nothing but danceable. The vocals are clean and cool and when the band sings it isn't the usual hoarse half-shout---which I still ador whenever a swing band shouts back--but an organized choir. This is music that must have been what the coolest of the cool guys and gals of the time listened to and above all partied to at the height of the depression.
While they may not have had the kind of impact on Jazz as an art as Ellington's excellent arrangements and compositions or the way Basie's rhythmn section made four beat swing unconquerable and provided a platform for the greatness of Lester Young and, Lunceford had a deeper influence on the white swing bands on post-swing "big band" music. The tight but swinging sound of the Lunsford orchestra, the way the horn sections alternated, the way the voicings were so clear and un mistakeable became the pattern for most of the popular swing bands. The great arrangers within the Lunsford Orchestra like Eddie Durham (Basie actually made a deal with Lunsford to borrow Durham for two years!!), Sy Oliver, and Gerald Wilson were hired by all the big white Swing bands of the 1940s like Glenn Miller who is forever identified with Eddie Durham's arrangement of "In the Mood." Oliver and Wilson outlasted the Swing era either as arrangers and leaders of recording and movie score orchestras into the 1970s.
It wasn't just dance and party music, smooth performanced, choreographed stage shows, Lunsford even had and pulled off great arrangements of light classical pieces.
Unfortunately, while Hampton, Ellington, and Basie lived on and kept their flames going, Jimmie Lunsford died in an auto accident in the forties. So, a lot people don't realize he belongs there with Basie and Ellington in the pantheon of Swing.