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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Three Classic Albums Plus

Avid AMSC 1008



1. Nevada
2. Yesterdays
3. It's Started All Over Again
4. I Dream of You
5. This Love of Mine
6. Rain
7. Wagon Wheels
8. We've Crossed The Wildest River
9. Peace Pipe
10. How Far is it to Jordan
11. This Is What Gabriel Says
12. Judgement is Coming
13. Do Do Do
14. I Should Care
15. Moonlight in Vermont
16. There Are Such Things
17. Autumn in New York
18. Melancholy Serenade
19. Flagler Drive
20. Skirts and Sweaters
21. Do It Yourself
22. Where is that Rock
23. Heaven Help Us

1. Stereophonic
2. Rhumba Montevideo
3. The Night We Called it a Day
4. Ruby
5. Sweet Sue, Just You
6. Prelude to a Kiss
7. Let's Have a Party
8. The Time is Right
9. Dippermouth Blues
10. Kicking the Blues Around
11. Stompin' Down Broadway
12. Dixieland Mambo
13. Just Swinging
14. Introduction
15. I Dream of You
16. The Tender Trap
17. The Night We Called it a Day
18. This is Romance
19. Love is Here to Stay
20. The Left Hand Corner
21. Swingin' for Breakfast
22. Silk Stockings
23. Who
24. You're My Everything
25. Granada
26. Marie


A 1947 film called The Fabulous Dorseys told a highly fictionalised story of the two Dorsey brothers who worked together for a while leading a band but soon fell out and formed their own separate orchestras. The film had a typical Hollywood happy ending, with Jimmy and Tommy reunited to play as soloists in a classical-style concerto.

Of course, the reality was somewhat different. The two brothers did work together in bands called Dorsey's Novelty Six and Wild Canaries and later, in 1934, formed the short-lived Dorsey Brothers Orchestra. The band was revived in the mid-1950s, the period when the recordings on this double CD were made. Both Jimmy and Tommy had paid their dues by the time these discs were cut: Jimmy working with Paul Whiteman, Bix Beiderbecke and Red Nichols; Tommy with Jean Goldkette as well as Paul Whiteman; and then both leading their own successful orchestras. In a way, they were a perfectly contrasted pair: Tommy playing impeccably smooth trombone while Jimmy was the jazzier, equally adept on clarinet and alto sax.

The first 24 tracks come from the two volumes of The Fabulous Dorseys, and the next twelve are from the LP Sentimental and Swinging. Eight tracks are taken from the radio shows that Tommy recorded shortly before his death in 1956 (so they were never broadcast), and the final five are from The Great T. D.

Although Jimmy's style was jazzier than his brother's, Jimmy's tone on the sax might be regarded as the equivalent of Tommy's trombone sound: mellow and pure. Certainly Tommy's tender tone dominates many tracks in this collection. Its sweetness is heard at its best on slow numbers like This Love of Mine and I Should Care. No wonder so many trombonists tried (and often failed) to emulate this mellifluous sound. Jimmy's high-flying clarinet is well caught on such tunes as Flagler Drive, while his soaring alto carries us heavenwards in tracks like Nevada. Tommy had originally recorded the Fabulous Dorseys in Hi-Fi at his own expense on state-of-the-art equipment but the remastered versions sound rather boxy at this distance. The other recordings sound clearer.

Of course, Jimmy and Tommy were not the only featured artists, as their bands also included musicians of the calibre of Charlie Shavers (who is heard to advantage soloing on Stompin' Down Broadway) and drummers like Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson, who propelled the band in the more swinging numbers. There were also some notable charts from such arrangers as Sy Oliver, Neal Hefti and Ernie Wilkins.

Some of the tracks fall into the "easy-listening" style which pleased some listeners in the big-band era but generally this is a keepable and often swinging set of recordings - again at Avid's super-budget price, although still with sleeve-notes that leave one puzzled about such details as personnels.

Tony Augarde

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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