A great bargain for music that may change your life!
Ryan Harvey | Los Angeles, CA USA | 03/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're interested in listening to Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, this is the best single disc to buy (if you want to spring for a bit more, look into the two-disc "The Essential Glenn Miller"). Priced at a budget of $10.00, the CD actually contains most of the big hits you would want from a Glenn Miller album: "In the Mood," "String of Pearls," "Pennsylvania 6-5000," "I Got a Gal in Kalamazoo," "Moonlight Serenade," "Tuxedo Junction," and "The Chatanooga Choo-Choo." They all sound quite good as well, with minimal hiss and crackle. Usually, the RCA "Greatest Hits" of Jazz series are poor buys, containing music from only a fraction of the musicians' careers that in no way represents their `greatest hits' (the Count Basie album and Louis Armstrong albums are especially weak). But this CD actually delivers the goods: Glenn Miller was an RCA-Victor recording artist for most of his career, so the label was able to put the best of the best on this single CD. If you're new to Mr. Miller, or big bands and swing in general, here's a great and economic way to get started.The pieces on this album cover Miller's most successful period: 1938, when he formed his new band and suddenly became a sensation, to mid-summer 1942, when he joined the Army Air Force and formed a new military band. "King Porter Stomp" is the earliest recorded piece here, and shows Miller at his most jazzy. The latest recorded (July 1942) is the sweet, pretty number "That Old Black Magic" (with vocal by Skip Nelson & the Modernaires). In between is a treasure of riches of the big band era, many of which became famous morale-raisers during World War II. Glenn Miller's music was a crucial part of the soundtrack of American involvement in that conflict. "In the Mood," the infectious dance piece and probably the most recognizable big band melody ever, leads off this collection. Even today, this number gets everyone, from elementary school children to senior citizens, out on the floor. Everybody knows this piece, and everybody loves it. Another popular morale-raiser from the war is "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," sung by Tex Beneke and the Texas Modernaires. The band also swings with great sophistication on numbers like "String of Pearls" (which shows off the cleverness of Glenn's arranger/composer Jerry Gray), bounces around on "Little Brown Jug," and gets down low and swingy on "Tuxedo Junction," which Glenn borrowed from bandleader Erskine Hawkins after he heard his band play a version of it. Glenn's great vocal group, Tex Beneke and the Texas Modernaires (along with Marion Hutton) also sing two of the most popular songs of the era: "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo" and "The Chatanooga Choo Choo." The band also plays some beautiful slow numbers on "Sunrise Serenade" and their theme song, the romantic "Moonlight Serenade." And don't forget the great start and stop number "Pennsylvanian 6-5000," which everybody loves to shout along with.Sadly, Glenn Miller did not live to see the end of the war he helped America get through: his plane was lost over the English Channel in December 1944.Glenn Miller, as others have pointed out, isn't music for just "the old folks." Young people are constantly falling under his spell, and his music is still enormously popular today with folks of all ages. This was part of Glenn's important appeal. He wasn't the best big band ever: there were many much harder swinging, jazzier bands around, like Count Basie's and Benny Goodman's. He wasn't a genius composer like Duke Ellington. He was only an average trombone player, not a virtuoso on his instrument like Tommy Dorsey on his trombone or Artie Shaw on his clarinet. But he achieved something important: he spread swing to all corners of the world, and to all ages, with his populist, happy, and fun style. His band members were incredibly talented, and they formed a tight group. They played pop music, certainly, but pop music that has transcended its era. And perhaps most importantly, the Glenn Miller Orchestra is a "gateway" band. His is often the first swing big band most people hear, and listening to them leads listeners into exploring this wonderful era in American music, when jazz was king. For me personally, Glenn Miller lead me to Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, and through many twists and turns, to Miles Davis. I thank Glenn Miller immensely for that.So buy this CD: it's less than ten dollars! You might find yourself on a new musical journey, and one day you'll also thank Glenn Miller for opening the door to a whole new world of music."
If you think Glenn Miller is for "old folks," think again!
Ryan Harvey | 08/05/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Glenn Miller's music is still as exciting, vibrant, and popular as it was 60 years ago. This CD is the perfect representation of why this is so. His unique arrangements give woodwinds an ethereal sound that is at once soothing and disarming (on tracks such as "Moonligtht Serenade," "In the Mood," and "A String of Pearls"). The counterpoint of horns with woodwinds creates a happy, carefree mood on "Chattanooga Choo-Choo," and one of my personal favorites "Kalamazoo." His numbers range from deeply romantic to cheeringly fun.I know teenagers who love Glenn Miller and are familiar with his songs and arrangements. I am 39 years old, so I didn't exactly grow up with this music. However, I know a good thing when I hear it, and this is great! For anyone looking for an escape from atrocious '90's music who is tired of finding that escape in classic rock, this is beautiful, infectuous music with the power to elicit em! otional responses in the listener. Believe me, this isn't just "old folks" music - it is classic and wonderful beyond belief!"
Worth 10 Stars
Kim K. | Bayonne, New Jersey | 04/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Glenn Miller & his orchestra made some of the most beautiful music ever recorded. I love most of the big bands of the 1930s & 1940s, but Glenn Miller will always be my favorite. Get this collection along with Vol.2 and you'll know what truly great music is. This is the music that blasted from radios & jukeboxes during wartime and long after the war finally ended. Whether fun swing tunes or romantic ballads, Glenn's music will make you feel good. Highly recommended."
The Best Glenn Miller out there.
W. Grandy | windsor, nova scotia Canada | 01/07/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There have been many many reissues of Glenn Miller music - some are not bad but others are terrible quality. This one stands out as one of the best - and it's origional material recorded between 1938 and 1942. It does have some technical problems (some ticks and pops) but nothing you can't live with. His biggest hits are this recording and it's a budget item as well so you can't lose. If you only have one Glenn Miller recording, this should be it."
R. Cash | Cedar City, UT | 06/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After Learning how to play saxophone, a friend of mine bought me this cd saying that I might like big band, and old jazz tunes, and especially Glenn Miller. So hey I gave the cd a spin, and fell in love with it immediately. From the tight swing feelings of "Tuxedo Junction" to the jazz ballad feels of songs like "String of Pearls," Glenn Miller and his band prove that they were the greatest and most loved musicians of the wartime era. I have since played saxophone for years, and have been playing along with this wonderful Glenn Miller compilation just as long. Put in this cd and enjoy the great tunes of this amazing musician, and if you play any jazz instruments at all, I recommend popping in this cd and learning how to play all of these wonderful tunes."