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



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Crotchet

RAY ANTHONY

& his Orchestra

The Man with the Horn

26 original mono recordings 1949-1954

LIVING ERA CD AJA 5549

 

 

 

 

  1. The Man with the Horn
  2. A Dreamer’s Holiday
  3. National Emblem March
  4. Tenderly
  5. Count Every Star
  6. Skycoach
  7. Harlem Nocturne
  8. Mr Anthony’s Boogie
  9. Sentimental me
  10. Cook’s Tour
  11. The Fox
  12. Can Anyone Explain?
  13. Slaughter on Tenth Avenue
  14. Harbour Lights
  15. Idaho
  16. Thunderbird
  17. Nevertheless
  18. Dancing in the Dark
  19. Dragnet
  20. At last
  21. Tuxedo Junction
  22. In the Mood
  23. O Mein Papa
  24. Sound Off
  25. Skokiaan
  26. I’ll See You in My Dreams

The Ray Anthony Orchestra was a very high quality dance band, the tuning and dynamics are superb and the whole of the performance is easy to understand and not likely to offend anyone. When I started to play in dance bands in the middle 50’s, this was the kind of music we played, although I must own up to the fact that we did not play it nearly as well as the Ray Anthony band! One of the problems of running a band of this type, is that you need musicians of the highest calibre to play it well, but it does not give them sufficient freedom to keep them interested and it is only by paying them over the odds that you can keep them on board.

Ray Anthony served his big band apprenticeship in the bands of Glenn Miller and Jimmy Dorsey and he had observed first hand the kind of music the audience liked. They liked it tuneful, but not too demanding and often they were more concerned with dancing than listening. Ray got the mixture absolutely right and whilst big bands were in decline during the period that this music was recorded, Ray went from success to success and chart hit to chart hit. This put him in a position to hire the best and keep them, which is why the band plays so well. In fact I would put forward this band as a model of what a first class dance band should sound like. All of the section work is immaculate, the dynamics are perfect, the tuning without flaw. When you add to this Anthony’s Cary Grant style good looks, his melodic Harry James style trumpet solos, good vocalists and his ability to hold the attention of an audience, this really was a winning combination.

Some famous names played with the band from time to time, Billy Butterfield, Marshall Royal and drummer Mel Lewis are present on some of the tracks. The arrangements are such however that famous jazz names have little or no impact on he overall sound of the band.

If you like your dance music immaculately played, this disc is for you. It should also be heard by all aspiring young big band musicians, so that they can hear the standard of section cohesion a top class band can achieve.

Don Mather

 



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