* EARLY DORSEYS REALLY WERE FABULOUS *
Barry McCanna | 01/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Due to the existence of two Dorsey Brothers discs with the same title, "The Fabulous Dorsey Brothers," there has been a mistake on the part of Amazon, and reviews have been cross-posted. The disc that my review pertains to is the ASV Living Era release, found at this link: Fabulous Dorseys
This is a fantastic compilation of the Dorsey Brothers' early hot jazz work. This stuff was not "swing" done by big orchestras, but rather what I would call "hot chamber music." The songs are gorgeously crafted miniature gems which are intense and exiting, while at the same time maintaining a relaxed, loose feeling. Each and every arrangement has something fascinating and attractive about it. And the musicians, oh lord, the musicians. These are less Dorsey Brothers recordings, than they are all-star small hot band summits. On any given track one may hear the likes of Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti, Bunny Berigan, Bud Freeman, Jack Teagarden, Adrian Rollini and others.
The more commercial side of the Dorseys can be heard on a small handful of tracks featuring some harmless, but dated singers such as Smith Bellow (more of the Dorseys in support of pop singers can be heard on the Collector's Choice disc "Essential Dorsey Brothers"). These tunes I usually program out, as the bulk of the music is still astoundingly fresh sounding. There are also a few real vocal gems (though the set is predominantly instrumental) such as two jazz numbers with the rhythmically and tonally enlightened Bing Crosby, and three remarkably complex and incomprehensibly hot numbers with the Dorsey's ultimate vocal collaborators, The Boswell Sisters.
Listen to a tune like "Beebe," with Jimmy Dorsey's amazingly nimble alto sax and clarinet work and understand why Charlie Parker admired him. Hear "Dippermouth Blues" and understand how these hot young white kids took the inspiration of the eternal jazz king Louis Armstrong and made something not derivative, but rather fascinating and creative in its own right.
These tracks, from 1928 to 1935, represent some of the very finest small group hot jazz of all time. Listening to this music, one could be forgiven for wishing that the Big Band swing era (for which these two brothers are now best remembered) had never come."
BATTLING MUSICAL BROTHERS
Barry McCanna | Normandy, France | 08/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In view of the subsequent comment by Mr. Levy, let me clarify that this review appertains to the Living Era CD "The Fabulous Dorsey Brothers & their Orchestra" (ASV 5415) and has been cross-posted by Amazon because of the slipshod way in which the concept of "product groups" is operated. It covers the period 1928 to 1935.
The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra was formed as a recording band in 1928 (not 1925, as shown above) and despite the brothers' differing temperaments, which led eventually to their falling out, they produced records of the highest order. It helped that they rubbed shoulders with the best on New York's scene, whose services they could call upon, men like Bunny Berigan, Bud Freeman, Manny Klein, Leo McConville, Glenn Miller, Phil Napoleon, Adrian Rollini, Charlie Spivak, Jack Teagarden, and Frank Teschemaker.
Amongst many highspots on this compilation are Jimmy Dorsey's showpiece "Beebe", and vocals by Bing Crosby and the Boswell Sisters. Incidentally, disregard the statement in the liner note that the session of January 1929 was the first time Crosby and Eddie Lang had worked together musically, which overlooks completely their shared membership of the Paul Whiteman Orchestra!
This is a splendid compilation, with a full discography, which is highly recommended."