Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop
2007 four CD box set from Proper. The Jimmie Lunceford band was one of the outstanding black big bands of the '30s and '40s. The relative lack of latter-day attention might be attributable to Lunceford's tragically early ... more »
2007 four CD box set from Proper. The Jimmie Lunceford band was one of the outstanding black big bands of the '30s and '40s. The relative lack of latter-day attention might be attributable to Lunceford's tragically early death in 1947 at the age of 45. But this alone cannot be the cause of Lunceford?s apparent dismissal from the collective memory of the Jazz world. In this respect the Lunceford band might have been a victim of its versatility, the band functioned as a show band, a dance band and a Jazz band, serving a musical menu of novelty tunes, sentimental ballads, music for dancing and spectacular "Flag wavers". Proper.
Best value investment
SoCal Boy | California | 01/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Such a well rounded band. But unlike most well rounded bands the JLO isn't just good, but they excel at everything!!! I think this is a must have if you're collecting Jazz and Big Band music from the 20's to the 40's."
Rhythm - Their Business...
jive rhapsodist | NYC, NY United States | 12/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"5 stars, yo! So obviously I like it a lot. It can't get less - not with all of the great things on it. But I have to admit this set leaves me a little sad. The Lunceford band was, by acclimation, the third-greatest black big band of the Swing Era, with Ellington and Basie fighting it out for no.'s 1 and 2. And I'm not going to argue. But they really hit the heights only a few times. Off the top of my head, I'd name For Dancers Only, Well All Right Then, Uptown Blues, 'Taint What You Do (It's The Way That You Do It), Yard Dog Mazurka and a few more. There are some fascinating examples of excessive arranging chops - listen to Eddie Durham's arrangement of Hittin' The Bottle or Lunceford's own Stratosphere. There are some all - time Swing Era classics (Rhythm Is Our Business, Margie). There are some real curiosities (An Ellington composition - Bird of Paradise - never recorded by the Ellington band). But then there are many tracks which are really only OK at best. Lunceford hoed - or plowed - or something - a kind of middle ground. Duke and Basie's goals were always clear - the "voice" of those bands is unmistakable. But what was the Lunceford band, exactly? A "show" band? An arrangers band? It certainly wasn't a soloists band...
Gunther Schuller wrote an excellent chapter on the Lunceford band in his Swing Era book, although his Lunceford band and mine are not quite the same. Around 1939 the band seemed to streamline its style and get more interested in Urban Black Groove Music - never a favorite of Schuller's. In order to experience this side of this music, though, it's necessary to pick up the CD Jazz Hour - 3004 which contains stunning live performances of 'Taint What You Do and Well All Right Then. It is really a shame that more such performances either don't exist or haven't been issued. Once you've heard these tracks you'll realize what is missing here.
One thing that I don't like about Proper is that remastering doesn't seem to part of its plan. JSP boxes - which are also bargain priced - make such a big effort in this way. But the sound here, as on most Proper Boxes, is so haphazard. If you're really nerdy, you can recognize which original LP issue each track has been dubbed from. And there are a few different ones represented here, that's for sure.
So...Great arrangements by Sy Oliver, Eddie Durham, Eddie Wilcox, Gerald Wilson. Great playing by Willie Smith, Trummy Young, Jimmy Crawford. That 2-beat groove. The indomitable Snooky Young playing lead trumpet. Those classic vocal trios. Moments of great beauty. But a vague feeling of something incomplete hangs over the whole set. I love "entertainment" as much as the next guy. But sometimes I have the feeling that the need to entertain got in the way of this band's making the best music it was capable of."