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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 ORCHESTRA

The Glenn Miller Formula, Part II

Sounds of Yester Year DSOY 864

 

 

Record No. 1506 (ND9-MM-8061) New York, July 12, 1949
1. Tuxedo Junction
2. These Foolish Things
3. Don't Be That Way
4. `S Wonderful
5. Blues in the Night March
Record No. 1507 (ND9-MM-8062) New York, July 12, 1949
6. A Kiss and a Rose
7. Wishing Star
8. The One Who Gets You
9. Look for the Silver Lining
10. Cherokee
Record No. 1508 (ND9-MM-8063) New York, July 12, 1949
11. You Turned the Tables on Me
12. Ida
13. Ichabod
14. Katrina
15. Lavender Coffin
Record No. 1515 (ND9-MM-8079) New York, August, 1949
16. Adios
17. I Can Dream, Can't I?
18. Over Three Hills
19. I'm the Man with the Dreams
20. Crazy Rhythm
Record No. 1526 (ND9-MM-1401) New York, August, 1949
21. The Huckle Buck
22. Just You, Just Me
23. Without a Song
24. Our Waltz
25. Blue Orchids
Record No. 1525 (ND9-MM-2419) New York, 1949
26. Moonlight Serenade

Personnel:
Bobby Nichols, Joe Ferrante, Buddy Yeager, Whitey Thomas - Trumpets
Jim Harwood, Paul Tanner, Dick Gould, Bob Pring - Trombones
John Graas - French horn
Tex Beneke - Tenor sax, vocals (tracks 8, 12, 13, 15)
Sol Libero - Alto sax, clarinet
Johnny White - Alto sax
Gene Cipriano, Ed Gerlach - Tenor sax
Teddy Lee - Alto sax, baritone sax
Art Wagner - Piano
Mike Bryan - Guitar
Cliff Hills - Bass
Jack Sperling - Drums
Glenn Douglas - Vocals (tracks 6, 9, 14, 17, 19)
The Moonlight Serenaders - Vocals (tracks 8, 13, 15, 18, 19)
Perry Burgett, Billy May, John Halliburton - Arrangers

 

This second collection of Tex Beneke's orchestra performing tunes in the Glenn Miller manner consists of radio transcriptions from 1949, as did the first volume DSOY846, reviewed on this site by Jonathan Woolf. Each programme lasted for 15 minutes, and three of the broadcasts were cut in New York on the same day, July 12, 1949, the dates of the other three being somewhat indeterminate but all listed as 1949.

Many Glenn Miller band favourites are included here, and in each Beneke adheres to the Miller arrangement and sound by-and-large of clarinet leading the reed section and the brass muted, but he also tries to have different "solos." Thus in the first number, for example, Tuxedo Junction, we find the familiar muted brass riff in the background, but different statements over it from the soloists. Beneke is not trying to merely replicate the Miller arrangement, this same kind of treatment being given to the other Miller standards as well, such as Adios and Don't Be That Way.

Included are some tunes that Miller never recorded since they came after his time, but in a statement Beneke implied that what we hear is how Miller probably would have played them had he had access to them. Perhaps that was the case, but I'm not sure that I would want to classify The Huckle Buck or Just You, Just Me as "Be-Bob! [sic]" or even "certainly bopish [sic]" as Highton does in his notes. Others I am not sure that Miller would have attempted, such as Ichabod and Katrina (from the Disney movie "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad") or Lavender Coffin. They certainly don't merit the praise that Highton accords them when he says of the last track, Lavender Coffin, for instance, that "the singers and band excel themselves in selling the idea of a happy funeral! A standout track." No, I'm afraid we would part company on that judgement. A catchy enough melody is sabotaged by the lyrics.

About half of the vocals are taken by "the lugubrious Glenn Douglas, not one of Nature's finest crooners," as Jonathan Woolf succinctly expressed it in his review of the first volume. The better ones are by Tex Beneke and by the Moonlight Serenaders.

I find that the most interesting selections on this disc are those where Beneke tries to both maintain the Miller sound but at the same time to introduce something that gives the rendition a separate identity from merely the Miller one. But those such as Our Waltz, which are done more or less strictly in the Miller manner, are also pleasing.

Miller and Beneke fans will undoubtedly enjoy this CD and may well disagree with my cavils stated above. These certainly should not discourage anyone from obtaining this recording, and for those who want still more, there is a Tex Beneke - Glenn Miller Formula, Part 3 now out.

Bert Thompson



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