Theme: Starburst and Introduction†
Swinging on a Star (featuring Lillian Lane
and the Escorts)*
Out of Nowhere**
It’s up to You*
These Foolish Things*
I Hear You Screamin’+
Out You Go*
Linger a While*
All by Myself‡
The Man I love**
It Happened in Monterey ≠
Don’t Be that Way ≠≠
*rec. early 1945, locations unknown
**rec. January 1946, New York City
+ rec. March 1946, The Meadowbrook Gardens,
Culver City, California
† rec. Hotel Astor Roof, New York City,
†† rec. circa May 1946, New York City
‡ rec. May 1946, location unknown
‡‡ rec. circa May 1949, location unknown
≠ rec. 13 November 1944, Chicago
≠≠ rec. 15 August 1945,
Hotel Astor Roof, New York City
For Krupa fans, we have here
an assortment of tunes recorded for radio
broadcast, of various sessions and line-ups,
only a few of the venues are known, based
on what the liner notes include. The sound
quality is really quite good, considering
the age of the recordings and the wide variety
of venues and recording conditions. Finding
out just really what was recorded where and
when is rather confusing, as the liner notes
bafflingly start at track 19, move on to track
9, and so on; a chronological arrangement,
though the disc itself is not organized chronologically.
The uncredited author of the liner notes states
he organized the order in this way to "allow
the listener to appreciate the development
of this fine orchestra," which is all
well and good, but the presentation could
be less confusing. We have here Krupa’s band
at its biggest, in its late 1940s line-up,
with recordings ranging from1944 to 1949,
just before the break-up of the full orchestra
Some hits are here — we have
Drum Boogie, but it is nowhere near the length
or, to these ears, the intensity, of the 9-minute
Jazz at the Philharmonic performance in 1952
with Buddy Rich. The drum presence is not
as bright in the 1945 performance, the piano
more pronounced — a more typically "boogie
woogie" arrangement, with the walking
octaves in the left hand of the piano. With
a nod to Hoagy Carmichael we have "Indiana,"
a treatment of "Back Home Again in Indiana"
with some extended play on "On the Banks
of the Wabash." The brass here has sass,
and the 1946 recording has depth enough to
hear the various parts with a good degree
of separation. Lillian Lane and the Escorts
give a fun close-harmony swing-though of "Swinging
on a Star" with added (uncredited) strings.
The trumpet work on "The Man I Love,"
which at first was a bit overloud, turns into
a wonderful performance, well worth a listen.
We also have some songs that aren’t the usual
suspects. One of the standouts is "Ain’t
Nowhere" with Carolyn Grey singing. It’s
a sophisticatedly slinky arrangement, done
in part by Gerry Milligan. The song’s sentiment
of "without a guy a gal’s nowhere"
may be rather out of date, but this track
has been in pretty regular rotation here.
Not all of the arrangements
work. This disc includes the squarest, most
wooden performance of "Summertime"
I’ve heard. The saxophone work is great, but
the vocalist - uncredited in the liner notes,
but my computer media player indicates that
it is Buddy Stewart - sinks the whole endeavour.
As a whole, the disc is enjoyable listening,("Summertime"
aside), and the playing here shows a loose
and comfortable band in its prime years. Gene
isn’t featured terribly prominently on these
tracks, which may disappoint those out for
full-on drum mayhem, but on the plus side,
we have a generally band-forward disc that
certainly has some nice moments. Recommended
for fans of Krupa and that big 1940s sound.
A gathering of various radio broadcasts —
a varied collection with some lesser-played
tunes. ... see Full Review