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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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TEX BENEKE
AND HIS ORCHESTRA

The Glenn Miller Formula

SOUNDS OF YESTERYEAR
DSOY846

 

 

  1. Stardust
  2. American Patrol
  3. My Buddy
  4. Blues in My Heart
  5. Chattanooga Choo Choo
  6. In The Mood
  7. Bali Hai
  8. String Of Pearls
  9. They Can't Take That Away From Me
  10. Hallelujah
  11. At Last
  12. Little Brown Jug
  13. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  14. Pinstripe Pants and a Cutaway Coat
  15. (I've Got A Gal In) Kalamazoo
  16. Wonderful Guy
  17. Again
  18. East of the Sun
  19. Rainbow Rhapsody
  20. Oh! Lady Be Good
  21. St. Louis Blues March
  22. Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend
  23. Blue Champagne
  24. I'll Remember April
  25. Somebody loves me
  26. Moonlight Serenade

Tex Beneke and his orchestra - Personnel: Tex Beneke (vocals, tenor saxophone); Glenn Douglas, Jimmy Leyden (vocals); Mike Bryan (guitar); Sol Libero, Johnny White (clarinet, alto saxophone); Manny Thaler (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone); George Benham, Ed Gerlach (tenor saxophone); Joe Ferrante, Whitey Thomas, Buddy Yeager, Bobby Nichols (trumpet); John Graas (French horn); Bob Pring, Dick Gould, Paul Tanner, Jim Harwood (trombone); Art Wagner (piano); Jack Sperling (drums); Claire Chatwin, Mary Mayo, Bob Mitchell.
rec. 30 May 1949 [70:19]

 

Tex Beneke, tenor saxophonist and singer, was an important cog in the Glenn Miller orchestra. After the bandleader's death, Beneke assumed leadership of the orchestra until it eventually became the Tex Beneke Orchestra, under which name, in 1949, it made this series of recordings for RCA Thesaurus. These recordings were sold on by NBC to radio stations across the US on 16" transcription discs lasting a quarter of an hour. All these tracks were cut in a single day, 30 May 1949, and we hear five shows plus a slither of a sixth.

Beneke had now dispensed with the string section he'd used, so reverted to a Miller sound, and recorded quite a few numbers associated with the old orchestra. It was indeed as the disc title has it, 'The Glenn Miller Formula'. Many of the songs were being actively pushed by song publishers and as Michael Highton makes clear in his notes, to which I'm indebted, the song publishers were hard men to refuse.

So if you're a fan of those distinctive Miller sax voicings and in the sometimes capricious use of old songs, then you'll doubtless welcome seventy minutes in the company of Beneke and the boys. Few of the musicians are well known. John Graas, the French horn player, is the one that had the most unusual but productive career though several others were well known and established musicians. The Moonlight Serenaders do the vocal honours. The approach to the old material was respectful but not reverential. So, American Patrol was respected as the great tune and arrangement that it was, but it was also very slightly modernised in style. They're very well-drilled in even so well known an evergreen as In the Mood where Beneke solos. They can do little when backing the lugubrious Glenn Douglas, not one of Nature's finest crooners, in something like They Can't Take That Away From Me - to which the answer is 'Oh yes they can'. Douglas is a big let-down.

Hallelujah is taken rather too frantically but Swing Low, Sweet Chariot indeed swings nicely, big bull fiddle to the fore. There's some deft points of orchestration on show in Again and Benny Carter's lovely Rainbow Rhapsody draws a fine corporate performance from the band. The last programme opens with the blockbusting St. Louis Blues March arranged by Ray McKinley, Perry Burgett and Jerry Gray and continues with one of the band's contemporary commercial 78 offerings, The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend; horrible title, nice tune. It must be Beneke's tenor on Blue Champagne where he sounds very much in thrall to Coleman Hawkins, as well he might.

I'm sure fans of Beneke and the Miller sound will enjoy these transcriptions.

Jonathan Woolf



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