Search - Tommy Dorsey :: Best of

Best of
Tommy Dorsey
Best of
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

Here are hits from the best years of a band that was hugely popular from the 1930s to the 1950s. Dorsey, "the sentimental gentleman of swing," was justly renowned for his refined, singing-and-sighing trombone playing. His ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Tommy Dorsey
Title: Best of
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 3
Label: RCA
Release Date: 5/22/1992
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Swing Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Other Editions: Best of Tommy Dorsey
UPCs: 078635108729, 076732407448, 078635108712, 078635108743

Here are hits from the best years of a band that was hugely popular from the 1930s to the 1950s. Dorsey, "the sentimental gentleman of swing," was justly renowned for his refined, singing-and-sighing trombone playing. His band could be driving, but emphasized the smooth and the dulcet, in keeping with popular, swing-era demand. Among these most-loved Dorsey sides are the million-sellers like Pine Top Smith's anthem "Boogie Woogie," and "Song of India," a Rimsky-Korsakov revamp that swingingly exudes adventure in the jungle. Great soloists like Buddy Rich, Louis Bellson, and Buddy DeFranco are here, as are arrangements by Sy Oliver, whom Dorsey cleverly hired away from Jimmy Lunceford's vaunted band. The early 1940s, the Sinatra years for the Dorsey band, also are reflected. --Peter Monaghan

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CD Reviews

Great Swing Band-one of the best. But,
Ken Doyle | Park Ridge, NJ USA | 12/14/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)

"This stuff really swings. These are the original recordings. But, RCA has done such a crummy job trying to clean this material up, that it sounds like the band is down the hall, in a gymnasium."
Candace Scott | Lake Arrowhead, CA, USA | 08/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Now this disc lives up to its billing as the "Best" of the Dorsey orchestra. It kicks off with one of the stellar and swingiest tunes of the Big Band era, "Opus Number One" (though this version is inferior to the more famous "single" version). It's hard to listen to this song and not appreciate the brilliant arrangement and musicianship displayed here. Along with Goodman's "Sing, Sing Sing" and Glenn Miller's "In the Mood" this has got to be in the top three of any Big Band all-time greatest list.It's a pity that Dorsey has been somewhat forgotten today and shoved aside in preference of Benny, Glenn and Artie. Was he as good as those giants? No, but this disc shows that his band could swing, had a phenomenal young vocalist named Sinatra and that Tommy's trombone playing wasn't half bad. This is a must have album for anyone serious about the Big Band era."
Great Orchestra Hurt By Bad Transfer!
GenesiusRedux | Chillin' at my place.... | 07/19/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The title of this CD, "The Best of Tommy Dorsey," is not inaccurate. It collects a number of the band's biggest hits from its beginnings in the mid-1930s through its heyday in the early to mid-1940s. But the selection could have been more extensive. As one reviewer noted, where's "The Music Goes Round and Round," the very first of the Clambake Seven recordings? "Well, Git It" doesn't appear on the CD. My point is not to go on adding recordings which I would have liked to see included myself, but to ask the question of why this CD only has 15 tracks.

You can't blame the cost of remastering. As at least two reviewers have noted, the transfer is terrible, with that ridiculous "echo chamber" sound that you used to get when remastering was in its infancy. I don't pretend to be anything like an expert, or even a well-informed novice, in the art of digital remastering. But I will say that many of the tunes which were available on vinyl in the 1970s sound better on the vinyl than they do on the CD. I can only imagine what some of them must have sounded like on 78s.

My point here--if you have access to vinyl, then go ahead and copy your vinyl onto your own CDs so you can have a convenient "play copy." I can't imagine that your CD would sound too inferior. It may, in fact, sound better.

As for the rest of the package--the liner notes sound like they've just been thrown together. There is no attempt to situate or describe the band in its historical context or significance. Little is made of Dorsey's trombone playing, beyond its technical merits, when in fact it was the sound of his horn that was the mainstay of the band. Bud Freeman, one of Dorsey's one-time tenor players is quoted for his resistance to agreeing to Dorsey's "greatness" as a player. The snide criticism, which is repeated absurdly by one of the other reviewers who high-handedly allows that Dorsey's trombone playing was "not half bad," has circulated enough in the post-bebop era (where it is recycled in some of the equally absurd contempt with which some musicians hold a trombonist like Bill Watrous) that I feel that I ought to address it.

Without a doubt Dorsey's style will appear old-fashioned to many contemporary ears, not simply because of his smoothness and vibrato but because of his insistence on strict adherence to classic melodic and rhythmic structure which was being eroded in the 1940s by musicians like Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. It would fall to Jay Jay Johnson, and not Dorsey, to reinvent the trombone as a bebop instrument. But that's not a reason to dismiss Dorsey's mastery of the instrument.

So, with all due respect to the late Bud Freeman and the reviewer below, I think I will go with the assessment of another, in my opinion, more significant reed player in assessing Dorsey's merits as a trombonist. Charlie Parker himself is said to have been enthusiastically watching, on the day of his death, a telecast of Dorsey playing. Parker is supposed to have remarked, "He's such a wonderful trombonist."

I think I'll rest my case on Dorsey's talent by saying my own musical taste is much more in line with Parker's than Freeman's, thank you very much.

Unfortunately, this recording does not do justice to that talent. My suggestion to those who are looking to discover Dorsey is this--look on vinyl."