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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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The Essential Collection

Avid AVC 930




1. Moonlight Serenade

2. Chattanooga Choo-Choo

3. I Know Why

4. At Last

5. In The Mood

6. It Happened In Sun Valley

7. Bugle Call Rag

8. Serenade In Blue

9. Iíve Got A Girl In Kalamazoo

10. Tuxedo Junction

11. Little Brown Jug

12. Pennsylvania 6-5000

13. Moonlight Sonata

14. Jingle Bells

15. Humpty Dumpty Heart

16. Donít Sit Under The Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)

17. Wishing (Will Make It So)

18. A String Of Pearls

19. The Kiss Polka

20. Adios


1. The St Louis Blues March

2. All The Things You Are

3. I Got Rhythm

4. That Old Black Magic

5. Dearly Beloved

6. My Blue Heaven

7. Honeysuckle Rose

8. Story Of A Starry Night

9. Moonlight Cocktail

10. One OíClock Jump

11. Stormy Weather

12. Iím Old Fashioned

13. Moonlight Becomes You

14. Rhapsody In Blue

15. Jersey Bounce

16. And The Angels Sing

17. At Sundown

18. Change Partners

19. I Never Knew

20. Sleepy Lagoon



This album is subtitled "The Essential Collection" but, back in 2006 on this website, I reviewed an album from the Avid label with a similar subtitle. That was a collection of "The All-Time Greatest Hits" and many tracks are duplicated on this new double album. Nonetheless, this is a budget-priced compilation, so it may usefully fill some gaps in your collection.

Glenn Miller's orchestra only appeared in two feature films from the early forties: Sun Valley Serenade and Orchestra Wives. Eleven tracks on the first CD come from these films, although most of them sound like studio recordings rather than being extracted from the soundtracks. This means that at least a couple of tunes from Orchestra Wives are omitted: People Like You and Me and American Patrol. Most of the other tunes come from films that the Miller band didn't appear in.

All the same, this makes a worthwhile collection, illustrating the contrasting sides of Miller: the sweet (sometimes saccharine) style and the more jazzy numbers. Jazz fans will listen out for the latter, which include In The Mood (with honking tenor saxes) and the frantic Bugle Call Rag (with thrilling drumming). Unfortunately for us jazzers, the sweet tunes far outnumber the more lively ones. However, the arrangements by such masters as Bill Finegan and Jerry Gray contain plenty of imaginative touches. And, for a double album at under-a-fiver, this is the sort of bargain that the Avid label is so good at.

Tony Augarde








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