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The end of the road!
Steven Phillips | Ada, OK United States | 03/04/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"These Capital recordings are the last that Whiteman made with his own orchestra. They are a cross section of themes ranging from the swingy and dazzling, "I found a new baby," featuring the finger-busting keyboard work of the brilliant, Earl Wild; through a plaintive, whispy vocalization of "Trav'lin' Light" by the great Billie Holiday; to heavy, dull and uninspired orchestral interpretations of "American in Paris," and "Rhapsody in blue." By this time, "Rhapsody" has lost most traces of the score that was to be performed by a "jazz orchestra" and one senses that Whiteman was just going through the motions and conducting this piece out of contractual obligation to Capitol rather than engaging in a continuing dialogue with American popular music forms.
The dance orchestral recordings on this CD are played by superior musicians who provided peak performances of well-orchestrated compositions - Whiteman never settled for second-best work at any time in his long career - and these recordings reflect his continuing drive for excellence. However, there are no musical statements in these recordings which had not already been made before. Glenn Miller, the Dorseys, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, etc., were now at the forefront of the big band age and these recordings do not provide the same level of "excitement" as that of the new leaders.
Although I believe that Whiteman represented the highest form of popular music from 1920-1930, these Capitol recordings only indicate how the trailblazer of one decade can devolve to being a derivative follower of the next."