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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

Amazon UK £4.99


The Essential Collection

Avid AVC 860




1. A String of Pearls
2. The One I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else)
3. Song Of The Volga Boatmen
4. Pennsylvania 6-5000
5. Sun Valley Jump
6. You Stepped Out Of A Dream
7. I Dreamt I Dwelt In Harlem
8. Anvil Chorus
9. Perfidia
10. Donít Sit Under The Apple Tree
11. Moonlight Serenade
12. Iíve Got A Gal In Kalamazoo
13. Skylark
14. That Old Black Magic
15. The Story Of A Starry Night
16. Here We Go Again
17. Serenade In Blue
18. American Patrol
19. At Last
20. Elmerís Tune
21. Over The Rainbow
22. The Ladyís In Love With You
23. Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead
24. Say "Si Si"

1. Bugle Call Rag
2. Little Brown Jug
3. Chattanooga Choo Choo
4. Iím Old Fashioned
5. In The Mood
6. Tuxedo Junction
7. And The Angels Sing
8. I Know Why
9. It Happened In Sun Valley
10. St. Louis Blues
11. My Buddy
12. Everybody Loves My Baby
13. Poinciana
14. Stompiní At The Savoy
15. Guns In The Sky
16. The Red Cavalry March
17. Jeep Jockey Jump
18. Star Dust
19. Mission To Moscow
20. Stormy Weather
21. Swing Low Sweet Chariot
22. Holiday For Strings

Iím glad this collection opens with A String of Pearls and not Moonlight Serenade, because it quells the notion that Glenn Millerís music was simply slushy. Much of it was, admittedly, slushy but the opening track proves that Millerís orchestra also played with a spring in its step. Indeed, tracks like Bugle Call Rag present the band as an extrovert and determinedly swinging ensemble, with some very wild drumming.

This two-CD set illustrates the various sides of the Miller band. Unlike another Avid compilation I reviewed recently, it justifies its title by including most of the numbers that Miller is best-known for, including not only Moonlight Serenade but also Pennsylvania 6-5000, Little Brown Jug, In the Mood and Tuxedo Junction. There are also the expected features for Tex Beneke and the Modernaires, including the classic Chattanooga Choo-Choo. Personally I could do without such items as Guns in the Sky (a paean of praise to air-gunners) but songs like It Happened in Sun Valley have an ingenious appeal. And itís good to hear the original Miller sound instead of the numerous pale imitations still making the rounds.

The playing time is generous (more than 156 minutes), the recorded sound is fine, and the only drawback is the lack of recording dates and personnel details.

Tony Augarde


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