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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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GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA

Plays the Music of Harry Warren

Sounds of Yester Year DSOY 850

 

 


1. Cowboy from Brooklyn
2. Devil-May-Care
3. Fifth Avenue
4. I Wouldn't Take a Million
5. It Happened in Sun Valley
6. At Last
7. Chattanooga Choo Choo
8. I Know Why
9. The Kiss Polka
10. Serenade in Blue
11. Sabotage
12. I've Got a Girl in Kalamazoo
13. People Like You and Me
14. You Say the Sweetest Things
15. You'll Never Know
16. My Heart Tells Me
17. The More I See You
18. I Only Have Eyes for You
19. This is Always
20. September in the Rain
21. The First Time I Kissed You
22. Java Junction

 

This label has already issued several discs of recordings by Glenn Miller's orchestras - either the bands he led himself or the ones that others directed after his death. Yet this CD is special because it includes songs from the two films which the group made for 20th-Century Fox: Sun Valley Serenade in 1941 (tracks 5 to 9) and Orchestra Wives in 1942 (tracks 10 to 14).

The sleeve-note points out that Fox's sound engineers got a better sound from the band than in studio recordings, and these ten tracks certainly show the Miller orchestra in the best light. These tracks also include some of the band's most popular numbers, such as At Last and I've Got a Girl in Kalamazoo. This latter number actually lasts for more than eight minutes, with the band backing the Nicholas Brothers in their song and dance towards the end.

I must say I had tended to think of Glenn's ensemble as a fairly bland outfit until I saw these two films, which give a more energetic sound than that conveyed by such gentle hits as Moonlight Serenade. The band at this time included saxists Tex Beneke and Al Klink, and trumpeters Bobby Hackett and Ray Anthony. It's a pity that Harry Warren didn't write Bugle Call Rag, as it was the liveliest tune in Orchestra Wives.

In fact these movies were only two of more than 60 for which Harry Warren wrote the music. This album reminds us of the breadth of his composing, from which I would single out the spirited Fifth Avenue, The More I See You (which gave Chris Montez a hit when it was reshaped in 1966), and a tasteful arrangement of September in the Rain. Several tracks are enhanced by the Texas tenor sax as well as the friendly vocals and whistling of Tex Beneke, who leads the orchestra on the last four tracks. At nearly 78 minutes, this is a choice collection of Miller recordings.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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