Album Details

April 22, 2008
Jazz, Big Band, Swing, Traditional Pop, Sweet Bands

Album Review

For those who get their kicks by tracing the reissuance of the complete studio recordings of Harry James on the Classics Chronological Series, this is the 12th installment, and it appeared in 2008. During the months covered by this portion of the retrospective (August 26, 1946, through April 9, 1947), the trumpeter continued to ride the crest of his fame as a featured Columbia artist, showcasing pop vocalists and maintaining an orchestra that specialized in relaxing mood music as well as swing. Active in the band at this time was ex-Ellington composer, arranger, and valve trombonist Juan Tizol. The inclusion of the Harry James treatment of Tizol's "Keb-Lah" makes for intriguing comparison with a version recorded by an octet under Tizol's name (one of the only sessions he ever led) for the Keynote label five months earlier on April 7, 1946. With Tizol on that date were saxophonists Babe Russin and Willie Smith, both members of the James orchestra, as was tenor man and fellow Keynote recording artist Corky Corcoran. The jazz element is most strongly manifested in "Keb-Lah" and extended renditions of "Moten Swing" and "Feet Draggin' Blues." James was still utilizing cellos, violas, and violins on some of his records but was in the process of gradually reducing their number and phasing them out during this period. Singers heard on this compilation are Buddy DeVito, Pat Flaherty, Art Lund, and Marion Morgan, a pleasant-voiced performer who eventually quit the band after hearing the leader observe that "singers have ruined the band business." Morgan is the singer heard on "Heartaches," a song that was originally recorded as a rhumba on two different occasions during the 1930s by the Ted Weems Orchestra with whistling by Elmo Tanner and "rediscovered" in 1947 by a DJ in Charlotte, NC. Harry James seems to have timed the release of his version perfectly, for it climbed into the Top Ten on the pop charts.
arwulf arwulf, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. If I'm Lucky
  2. One More Kiss
  3. Oh But I Do
  4. Life Can Be Beautiful
  5. Keb-Lah
  6. White Christmas
  7. You'll Never Know
  8. Moten Swing, Pt. 1
  9. Moten Swing, Pt. 2
  10. Feet Draggin' Blues, Pt. 1
  11. Feet Draggin' Blues, Pt. 2
  12. The Man with the Horn
  13. Lover, Come Back to Me
  14. Jealousy
  15. Moonglow
  16. I Tipped My Hat
  17. As Long as I'm Dreamin'
  18. Heartaches
  19. What Am I Gonna Do About You
  20. Stella by Starlight
  21. I Can't Get Up the Nerve to Kiss You
  22. Something for Nothing
  23. Tomorrow