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

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Memoir CDMOIR 594





1. Entry of the Gladiators - Ted Heath
2. National Emblem March - Ray Anthony
3. Stars and Stripes Forever - Ralph Flanagan
4. March of the Toys - Teddy Powell
5. St Louis Blues March - Tex Beneke
6. Blue Skies March - Ted Heath
7. Doodletown Fifers - Sauter-Finegan
8. Washington Grays - Jimmy Dorsey
9. March of the Bobcats - Bob Crosby's Bobcats
10. Sound Off - Jerry Gray
11. Swing Patrol - Ambrose
12. Parade of the Wooden Soldiers - Jan Savitt
13. El Abanico - Ted Heath
14. Columbia, The Gem of the Ocean - Les Brown
15. When The Saints Go Marchin' In - Jack Parnell
16. Sound Off March - Ray Anthony
17. Yankee Doodletown - Sauter-Finegan
18. March of the Movies - Squadronaires
19. Basin Street Blues March - Oscar Rabin
20. The Boogie Woogie March - Buddy Morrow
21. Colonel Bogey - Ted Heath
22. The Thundisbreak - Sauter-Finegan
23. Swing Parade - Sidney Bechet
24. Anchors Aweigh - Phil Green
25. Stormy Weather March - Jerry Gray
26. Cossack Patrol - Ted Heath

The album title is something of a contradiction in terms, because a march is always in very strict tempo but, for a tune to swing, it needs to depart from a strict beat and instead make the tempo bounce subtly. This compilation lets us hear how successful different bands are in making a march into a swing tune.

We know that the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra managed it memorably in Doodletown Fifers, thanks to the arranging talents of Eddie Sauter (who wrote some marvellous arrangements for Benny Goodman, including the Clarinet à la King, as well as providing the string arrangements for Stan Getz's Focus album) and Bill Finegan (who worked for Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller). This track dates from 1952 but still sounds absolutely fresh. The pair reworked the same seam for Yankee Doodletown (which, as Malcolm Laycock's useful sleeve-note points out) contains some deliberate discords. Laycock may be wrong in saying that Sauter-Finegan's The Thundisbreak (an adaptation of Sousa's The Thunderer) was from "the band's first album in 1954" as I believe their first album (inciuding Doodletown Fifers) was earlier in the 1950s.

Ted Heath and his Music occupy five of the 26 tracks and manage to swing gently, with a particularly hustling version of Colonel Bogey. Other successful swingers include Ralph Flanagan, Les Brown, the Squadronaires and Sidney Bechet. A Dixieland style is used in tracks like Bob Crosby's March of the Bobcats, which is lifted by the trademark drumming of Ray Bauduc (whose role in part-composing the tune is bungled by crediting him as "Badeauc").

However, some tracks (like Ambrose's Swing Patrol) don't impart so much swing, tending towards a two-beat style which hinders the flow. Others stick to an even stricter marching rhythm - like Tex Beneke's version of the St Louis Blues March and Oscar Rabin's very similar Basin Street Blues March. Ray Anthony's Sound-Off March is basically Jerry Gray's Sound Off without the vocals.
Altogether, this compilation makes for an interesting chance to compare-and-contrast, while enjoying some good big-band recordings.

Tony Augarde






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