A Good Starter Collection...but BMG still locks up the best!
DAVID A. FLETCHER | Richmond, Va United States | 03/28/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Miller re-issues over the years have varied in quality, whether from editorial decisions (which tunes to feature)and engineering methods (what "original" sounds best, and how to improve it). On a 10-scale, I'd give this new 2-disc collection a solid 7.5. The engineering decisions have, for the most part, been good. The tune selection, as well as versions of those tunes, could have been a little more imaginative. But, for the money, and for a novice collector/listener, "Platinum Glenn Miller" is a decent start.Some talking points from the engineering standpoint might revolve around the concept of "best available source material." Something to keep in mind: the original metal "part" is not always the best early-generation disc to work with. There are acetate test-pressings from those parts that have weathered the 60 years or so between the original wax impressions and todays digital remastering sessions in better shape than the metal stamper used to create them. Things like "noise floor", "hiss", and "rumble" become concerns, and on occasion, the BMG engineers have gone overboard to do their best. Good example: the rendition of Billy May's arrangement of "Take the A Train" featured in the compilation titled "The Spirit is Willing." In mid-track, the engineers audibly changed sources from one disc to another, and seemlessly edited the join. Why? A great disc was marred about halfway through, while another disc--while not as clean overall--was cleanER from that midpoint to the close. This may seem to be almost ... hair-splitting, but it's an example of remastering engineers going the extra mile. And, most of that particular compilation, "The Spirit is Willing," offers similar effort.The cleaner sounding tracks featured in "Platinum Glenn Miller" are, for the most part, those that have been least anthologized in past incarnations, going back to the early LP reissue era. Every dubbing/handling session with those metal parts and acetates takes its toll to some degree, and without the ability to capture clean "virgin" dubs onto good tape when the getting was good, we've been left with some of the more popular remastering targets in less than great condition. I've got a near-mint shellac Bluebird 78 of "Little Brown Jug" that sounds cleaner than most of the dubs I've heard on CD, or even LP. Strangest of all, though, is the mysterious case of "Tuxedo Junction." Was the master for that take flawed from the get-go? The noise floor on every dub from that source material I've ever heard is appalling.Now, the good news: as evidenced by the material featured in "The Chesterfield Broadcasts, Vol. 1, Featuring the Andrews Sisters" (and here I greatly disagree with this compilation's detractors....the sound from the direct-line CBS transcription discs is largely terrific for its day, and skillfully restored by the BMG engineers, as well as being a good cross-section of what fans would have heard in early 1940), the "work tapes" made by RCA Victor in the early 1960s of the various transcription discs possessed by the Miller estate were quite good, and the discs themselves were in decent shape overall, with some exceptions. Much of that material has been through the re-issue mill via LP, some quite successfully, while a good bit of it has never been reissued at all, except on bootleg LP's and CD's compiled with quickie-dubs of inferior quality. Material previously reissued via the Limited Edition mega-sets of the mid-50s, as well as subsequent broacast compilations issued by RCA in the 60s, virtually scream for reissued on CD today! BMG is sitting on a huge stockpile of vintage work-tapes of excellent quality, which could be additionally enhanced by digital mastering. A prime example: "Glenn Miller: On the Air", a 3 LP set from the early 60s, featuring near-HiFi transcriptions of Miller broadcasts from the Cafe Rouge, Meadowbrook Ballroom, and Glen Island Casino. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!I know this has run a bit long, and maybe a bit off-topic, but it's worth reiterating that the market for good-sounding Miller reissues is still here, stronger than ever, with new audiences waiting for more tastes of the best of what was America's most popular dance band in history. BMG really must do justice to its huge Miller catalog of commerical and broadcast performances, not only in engineering art, but in selection."
Glenn Miller, his music will always be a thriller.
Evelyn O. Simon | South Florida. U.S.A. | 03/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Excellent! All of his originals, are digitally remastered double CDs. The familiar tunes you've heard on his past recordings that were done instrumental, were lyrically done on these fabulous CDs. These crystal clear recordings, will cause you to think of those days in the 1940's. CALLING ALL BIG BAND MUSIC LOVERS, THESE GLENN MILLER RECORDINGS ARE A MUST OWN!"
I Love The Sound Of The Big Band
Rebecca*rhapsodyinblue* | CA USA | 12/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""A band ought to have a sound all of its own. It ought to have a personality." ~ Glenn Miller (1904-1944) ~
What do these names have in common? Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, The Dorsey Brothers (Tommy and Jimmy), Harry James, Stan Kenton, Artie Shaw, Les Brown, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Lawrence Welk, Lionel Hampton, Jan Garber, Sammy Kaye, Wayne King, Guy Lombardo, Vaughn Monroe, Les Elgart, Ray Anthony, and the list goes on and on. These are the names of the most popular bandleaders in the Golden Era of Dance Bands. My late father had collected their most remarkable albums and I truly enjoy listening to big band music - the sound of the 1930s and 1940s. For somebody who didn't live in that era, I myself am amazed with my penchant for this type of music.
This 2-CD Platinum set showcases the most notable recordings of Glenn Miller, the greatest name and the most identifiable sound of the Swing Era. It has been said that Mr. Miller's favorite quotation was "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing." He scored 17 Top Hits in 1939 and 31 in 1940, which included "Moonlight Serenade," "Sunrise Serenade," "Over The Rainbow," "Moon Love," "Stairway To The Stars," "When You Wish Upon A Star," "Blueberry Hill" and "Fools Rush In," to mention a few. These hits were instrumental in making him the most successful recording artist in 1940.
"Moonlight Serenade" has been my all-time favorite from Glenn Miller. I fell in love with this tune since the first time I heard it many moons ago. And so with his version of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue." I could listen to these tunes endlessly without ever tiring. If you're feeling highly-spirited, you can swing to the danceable tracks - "In The Mood," "Chattanooga Choo Choo," "American Patrol" and "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree" (With Anyone Else But Me), featuring the Modernaires on vocals.
If you're nostalgically feeling and wanting to be transported back in time to the late thirties through early forties, listen to some of the greatest love songs of all-time, Mitchell Parish and Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust," Rube Bloom and Johnny Mercer's "Fools Rush In," Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington's "The Nearness of You," Mitchell Parish/Matty Malneck/Frank Signorelli's "Stairway To The Stars," E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen's "Over The Rainbow," Al Hoffman/Mann Curtis/Jerry Livingston's "The Story of a Starry Night" and Mack Gordon and Harry Warren's "At Last" as well as the Billy May arranged track, "Serenade In Blue." The remarkably rich and relaxed voice behind these classic gems belong to Ray Eberle, who was the very first male vocalist of Glenn Miller & His Orchestra.
If you're a Big Band music lover like me, you'll enjoy listening to this collection of Glenn Miller's classic hits of all-time. Very highly recommended.
Happy Listening! "
Miller never gets old.
Rebecca*rhapsodyinblue* | 03/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the best digital transfer of Miller material I have heard. Most supposedly are taken from the original metal parts. BMG/RCA, however, in the past has gone overboard with Sonic Solutions type noise reduction. A good example of that is The Essential Glenn Miller collection from 1995. The quieter passages of songs are muffled and virtually impossible to hear (check out "In the Mood" from that collection). This new CD collection corrects that to some extent and quieter passages are much clearer but still slightly muffled. This may speak to the quality of recording techniques of RCA and Bluebird way back when. It may suggest the master discs were not cared for all that well over the decades. Having said that, this collection is sharper, crisper, with virtually no pops or crackle. Some cuts seem to be from better quality source material than the 1995 "Essential" collection. It is certainly better than the myriads of older MIller CD's available. Botton line, it's two CD's of pure enjoyment. OK the Miller band wasn't Goodman or Shaw, but this music branded a generation. And these boys were certainly capable of cooking, as these recordings attest to. Even if you already own a Miller collection, pick up this one. Two CD's, all the favorite songs, the price is right and the best quality digital transfers I have ever heard. Then sit back, close your eyes and drift off to a simpler era. Or experience this magic for the first time."