CD Big Band Hit Parade (CD 631749),
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Big Band Hit Parade

  • 1. Take the "A" Train
    2. Begin the Beguine
    3. Sentimental Journey
    4. One O'Clock Jump
    5. Caravan
    6. Let's Dance
    7. You Made Me Love You
    8. Woodchopper's Ball
    9. In the Mood
    10. Sing, Sing, Sing
    11. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
    12. Well, Git It!
    13. Artistry in Rhythm
    14. Moonlight Serenade
    15. St. James Infirmary
    16. When the Saints Go Marchin' In
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 80177

  • Credits
    ProducerRobert Woods
    EngineerJack Renner

    Recorded in Music Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio, August 3, 1988.
    Personnel: Cab Calloway (vocals); Eddie Daniels (clarinet); Gerry Mulligan (baritone saxophone); Doc Severinsen (trumpet); Buddy Morrow (trombone); Dave Brubeck, Steve Schmidt (piano); Ed Shaughnessy (drums).
    Recording information: Music Hall, Cincinnati, OH.
    Oh no, you think, a symphonic "pops" orchestra trying to masquerade as a big band in some predictable golden oldies for the Geritol set. Surprise -- this CD is a swinging, romping, not-at-all-predictable love letter to big bands from Benny Goodman to Stan Kenton and beyond. Kunzel was no newcomer to symphonic jazz fusion, having conducted the Cincinnati Symphony on recordings of Dave Brubeck's religious and secular works and Duke Ellington's concert pieces for Decca in the late '60s and '70s. But few would have expected this recording to turn out this well -- and the secret is that Kunzel turns over much of the proceedings to the experts. He leaned heavily on the Tonight Show Orchestra, grabbing Doc Severinsen on lead trumpet, the idiomatic jazz-oriented arrangements of Tommy Newsom and John Bambridge, and perhaps most crucially, the powerfully swinging drums of Ed Shaughnessy. That gets the Cincinnati Pops -- augmented by a saxophone section -- off the ground, where the strings line the chassis with velvet, yet hardly ever add excess baggage. Then Kunzel sprinkled the orchestra with some bona fide star soloists, a few of whom were evidently impressed enough to sign up with Telarc years later. Gerry Mulligan is there in voluble, bumpy form on baritone sax; Ray Brown is Shaughnessy's co-anchor in the rhythm section and even gets a few bass solos here and there. Eddie Daniels is usually asked to summon forth the sounds of Goodman and Artie Shaw -- which he does, soaring with a liquid tone on "Begin the Beguine" -- yet his style is more harmonically advanced and it adapts well. Buddy Morrow, likewise, is the smooth Tommy Dorsey stand-in on "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You." "Take the 'A' Train" was a staple of Brubeck's quartet at this time, and he makes the most of it, building toward a typically shouting polytonal climax. Whenever he can, Severinsen is out front blowing up a storm; his reputation as a flashy showman notwithstanding, he can really play -- and play as well as anyone. Even the 80-year-old Cab Calloway makes a bravura cameo appearance on "St. James Infirmary." The tunes are pretty much your standard fare from the big band era, but they don't necessarily copy the originals (the almost-non-adaptable "Sing Sing Sing" being an obvious exception), often employing more complex harmonies and updated grooves. Indeed, the slow-handclapping dance rhythm on "Caravan" is contemporary as of, say, 1980. Finally, everyone gets a shot at "When the Saints Go Marching In," with Brubeck's unaccompanied, hymn-like intro to his solo providing the biggest surprise. In less-devoted hands, this could have been a bloated train wreck, but no, it's a triumph for all concerned. ~ Richard S. Ginell

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