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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

AAF Band Arrangements

Sounds of Yester Year DSOY 863

 

 

Glenn Miller and the Army Air Forces Orchestra, "I Sustain the Wings" broadcast, CBS Playhouse No. 4, New York, 9/4/43.
1. All the Things You Are

Glenn Miller and the Army Air Forces Orchestra, "I Sustain the Wings" broadcast, NBC Vanderbilt Theatre, New York, 6/3/44.
2. Amor

Jerry Gray and the American Band of the AEF, "Moonlight Serenade" broadcast of the AEF programme, Queensbury All Services Club, London, 11/17/44.
3. Sweet Lorraine

Glenn Miller and the American Band of the AEF, "Wermacht Hour" recording for ABSIE, HMV Studios, Abbey Road, London, 11/20/44.
4. Where or When

Jerry Gray and the American Band of the AEF, Recorded for AEFP at the Olympic Theatre, Paris, 1/22/ 45.
5. I'll Be Seeing You

Jerry Gray and Major Glenn Miller's AAF Overseas Orchestra, "I Sustain the Wings" dress rehearsal, NBC Radio City, New York, 10/13/45.
6. Symphony

Tex Beneke and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, AFRS "Jubilee Show," McCormick General Hospital, Pasadena, California, early 1948.
7. Night and Day

Tex Beneke and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, RCA Thesaurus Transcription 1504, New York, 30/5/49.
8. I'll Remember April

Norman Leyden Orchestra (Containing many Ex AAF Musicians), Columbia Studios, New York, 6/17/ 59.
9. Sweet Lorraine
10. My Heart Stood Still
11. I'll Be Seeing You
12. All the Things You Are

Norman Leyden Orchestra (Containing many Ex AAF Musicians), Columbia Studios, New York, 6/23/ 59.
13. I'll Walk Alone
14.I'll Remember April
15. Night and Day
16. Where or When
Norman Leyden Orchestra (Containing many Ex AAF Musicians), Columbia Studios, New York, 6/24/ 59.
17. Symphony
18. Amor
19. Together
20. Time on My Hands

Personnel:
Not given for various orchestras' members.
Vocalists are as follows:
Tony Martin - track 1
Johnny Desmond - tracks 2, 5, 6, 9-20
Artie Malvin - tracks 3, 4
Garry Stevens - track 7
Glenn Douglas - track 8

 

Although this disc's title emphasizes the Miller AAF band arrangements, it is just as much or more a showcase, perhaps, for the male vocalists featured on each track, all of whom except Stevens and Douglas had sung with the Miller AAF band. Only the first half dozen cuts are by the Miller AAF band, the rest by bands comprised mainly of Miller alumni.

Of the vocalists, Johnny Desmond is by far the best of these, which is just as well as he is featured on 15 of the 20 cuts. Tony Martin, for whom Desmond originally substituted, handles All the Things You Are with no trouble, his carefully controlled vibrato cushioned by the lush background of the orchestra plus strings. Artie Malvin is another competent crooner and acquits himself well on his two songs, Sweet Lorraine and Where or When.

The remaining two singers are another matter, however. Garry Stevens has trouble staying on key in his single track, Night and Day. Of course, it must be admitted that the arrangement, particularly the coda, does him no favours either. The last vocalist, Glenn Douglas, figures in only one track, which is a blessing since he is just as lugubrious here (as Jonathan Woolf, in his review of DSOY846, Tex Beneke and His Orchestra, The Glenn Miller Formula) said Douglas was there.

The last dozen tracks on the album, those by the Norman Leyden Orchestra, were not recorded until 1959, and they were also afforded the advantage of stereo sound. Tracks 1 to 8 predated stereo and thus were recorded in mono. (Fortunately no attempt was made to convert these to ersatz stereo!)

Leyden had left the Beneke band when Beneke dispensed with the string section, Leyden feeling it was essential to the AAF Band arrangements, some of which he had written, as the liner notes inform us. Desmond had the AAF arrangements, and in 1959 he prevailed upon Mitch Miller, head of recording at Columbia Records, to recreate them in stereo, Leyden being selected to conduct the orchestra. The results we have here, and it is interesting to compare the mono versions with the stereo ones. As one might expect, the stereo versions are superior, particularly those where Desmond sings.

I'm not sure to whom this collection will mainly appeal. Certainly it will to anyone who enjoys the music of Miller with strings and of vocalist Johnny Desmond. It provides a pleasant near-60 minutes of listening.

Bert Thompson



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