Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
So That's What 1938 Sounded Like!
Joseph | Philadelphia, PA USA | 07/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Devotees of classic swing can rapture to some very scratchy sounds. In fact, learning to listen past all of the surface noise and even fill in the auditory gaps is something of a prerequisite. Like watching a black-and-white film, you have to take what history has given you. (Let's not discuss such forms of vandalism as colorization and stereo enhancement.) For the best and most famous recorded performances, this becomes second nature; for lesser tunes, it can be a challenge. This CD offers something very rare indeed: A topflight band that had an opportunity to cut some excellent material with the best high fidelity recording technology available in 1937 and 1938. If you're a new swing devotee who never heard what was possible back then, you'll be impressed. If you're a dyed-in-the-vat old fossil who's heard only the commercial pressings of these tunes, you'll be astounded-and elated. First, a word or two about the Larry Clinton orchestra. For years, this band was given short shrift by swing critics. Albert McCarthy once commented that the only saving grace of Clinton's recordings was their level of execution. And George T. Simon once faulted the band for its "damp-sounding" saxophone section. Well, that was then, and this is now. The level of execution evident from this CD is phenomenal. And far from "damp-sounding" this band had a rich, strong sax section. For that matter, all of this band's ensemble work is tremendous: sharp, precise, rhythmic and deeply textured. If the solos aren't the thing of jazz legend, they are done with taste and style. It is very easy to understand why this band went on to be one of the major players of the swing era. Several cuts on this CD are worthy of special mention. "Glen Island Hop," despite the up-tempo suggestion of its title, is a haunting medium tempo riff that shows off just how much this band had on the ball. It's one of those rare tunes in which everything is done right: tempo, arrangement, solos, and even attitude. The intro starts out with a throaty and even sexy sax voicing, joined by a full bodied ensemble brass counterpoint, a low-key piano bridge, then the pensive sax riff with muted brass punctuations, then to a wonderful tenor solo backed up by some round-toned section trombone work, und so weiter. It's a wonderful tune to dance to, and with the excellent recording quality, it will transport you back to the Glen Island Casino in the distant summer of 1938. "Chris and His Gang" is another perfect dance-tempo tune with all of the famous Larry Clinton arrangement touches. There is no denying that this man knew how to construct harmonies for a swing band. "Sugarfoot Stomp," a necessary standby for any swing band in the'30s, begins with a Dixieland-inspired intro, and moves to a perfectly-paced clarinet solo; this is followed by a great call-and-response, a trumpet solo, a tenor sax ditto, and then more of that magnificently propulsive trombone section. A unison clarinet riff plays back and forth with the trombones, and than a swinging, pumping ride- out. On the dreamy side, there is a version of "You Go To My Head" that is nothing short of ethereal. A beautiful ballad to begin with, it benefits from the way that the band caresses every note of it. (The "damp-sounding" saxophone section does a particularly superb job.) Though Bea Wain's voice is not the best for this kind of tune, she treats the tune well, without the sort of melodrama that would have been easy. Her little hum at the end is a nice, sweet touch. The last tune on the CD, "I Want to Rock" (of all things) is a real swinger. An excellent arrangement, it's hard to believe that it dates form 1937 or '38; it has more of an early '40s sound to it. Definitely the product of an amazingly competent band. So scare up a Scott Philharmonic (and figure out a way to play this CD through it), give the little slides on your sock garters a tug, and get ready to turn a foxtrot or two. If you want to enjoy late '30s swing, this is the CD for you. You may not be able to go back. But yes, that's what 1938 really sounded like."
Bea Wain's voice is heavenly...
Mr. Jazz | 09/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Why do we listen to Larry Clinton records today, well it's not for hot jazz solos, or unique arrangemnts, because Clinton's band certianly didn't have much jazz content, and Clinton was a one time Dorsey arranger, so we would listen to Tommy Dorsey if we wanted to hear Clinton's best arrangements(Clinton's best arrangements were for other bands, not his own). We listen to Clinton for basicly one reason, Bea Wain. Wain much like Sinatra had a New Jersey accent and sang in a way that had you longing for more. Wain really deserved much hotter then Clinton, it would have been nice if she'd been Bob Crosby's singer instead, however she was Clinton's vocalist, and we can be thankful for the beautiful ballads he arranged for her like "You Go To My Head," the difinitive Wain performance here. Wain sings hot on the Edythe Wright/Dorsey cover of "The Dipsey Doodle," Wain sings at the same level if not better then Wright(since Wain is a very jazz influenced vocalist, she admired Billie Holiday) however Dorsey's band(with Clinton's arrangement) playyed it a little hotter then Clinton's band. This CD even the intrumentals are overall enjoyable, and Clinton's band does swing, and Wain appears on 8 of the 16 tracks. Highlights include Wain on two hot numbers "Martha"(which I'm sure was Connee Boswell influenced), and "Whistle While You Work." Wain is in prime form thoughout and Larry Clinton's orchestra never sounded better, also the sound quality is excellent. Recommended to swing and jazz vocal collectors."
Bouncy, Good-Time Big Band Music
M. Mills | 08/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I knew very little about Larry Clinton or Bea Wain before purchasing this CD. What a pleasant surprise! Nearly every cut is top notch with fine arrangements, expert playing and good vocals. The music can change a dull drive to the office into a a great start or end to the day!"