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3.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 22, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Here are hits from the best years of a band that was hugely popular from the 1930s to the 1950s. Dorsey, "the sentimental gentleman of swing," was justly renowned for his refined, singing-and-sighing trombone playing. His band could be driving, but emphasized the smooth and the dulcet, in keeping with popular, swing-era demand. Among these most-loved Dorsey sides are the million-sellers like Pine Top Smith's anthem "Boogie Woogie," and "Song of India," a Rimsky-Korsakov revamp that swingingly exudes adventure in the jungle. Great soloists like Buddy Rich, Louis Bellson, and Buddy DeFranco are here, as are arrangements by Sy Oliver, whom Dorsey cleverly hired away from Jimmy Lunceford's vaunted band. The early 1940s, the Sinatra years for the Dorsey band, also are reflected. --Peter Monaghan
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 22, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B000002WEE
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,325 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Tommy Dorsey Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Now this disc lives up to its billing as the "Best" of the Dorsey orchestra. It kicks off with one of the stellar and swingiest tunes of the Big Band era, "Opus Number One" (though this version is inferior to the more famous "single" version). It's hard to listen to this song and not appreciate the brilliant arrangement and musicianship displayed here. Along with Goodman's "Sing, Sing Sing" and Glenn Miller's "In the Mood" this has got to be in the top three of any Big Band all-time greatest list.
It's a pity that Dorsey has been somewhat forgotten today and shoved aside in preference of Benny, Glenn and Artie. Was he as good as those giants? No, but this disc shows that his band could swing, had a phenomenal young vocalist named Sinatra and that Tommy's trombone playing wasn't half bad. This is a must have album for anyone serious about the Big Band era.
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Format: Audio CD
This stuff really swings. These are the original recordings. But, RCA has done such a crummy job trying to clean this material up, that it sounds like the band is down the hall, in a gymnasium.
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Format: Audio CD
The title of this CD, "The Best of Tommy Dorsey," is not inaccurate. It collects a number of the band's biggest hits from its beginnings in the mid-1930s through its heyday in the early to mid-1940s. But the selection could have been more extensive. As one reviewer noted, where's "The Music Goes Round and Round," the very first of the Clambake Seven recordings? "Well, Git It" doesn't appear on the CD. My point is not to go on adding recordings which I would have liked to see included myself, but to ask the question of why this CD only has 15 tracks.

You can't blame the cost of remastering. As at least two reviewers have noted, the transfer is terrible, with that ridiculous "echo chamber" sound that you used to get when remastering was in its infancy. I don't pretend to be anything like an expert, or even a well-informed novice, in the art of digital remastering. But I will say that many of the tunes which were available on vinyl in the 1970s sound better on the vinyl than they do on the CD. I can only imagine what some of them must have sounded like on 78s.

My point here--if you have access to vinyl, then go ahead and copy your vinyl onto your own CDs so you can have a convenient "play copy." I can't imagine that your CD would sound too inferior. It may, in fact, sound better.

As for the rest of the package--the liner notes sound like they've just been thrown together. There is no attempt to situate or describe the band in its historical context or significance. Little is made of Dorsey's trombone playing, beyond its technical merits, when in fact it was the sound of his horn that was the mainstay of the band. Bud Freeman, one of Dorsey's one-time tenor players is quoted for his resistance to agreeing to Dorsey's "greatness" as a player.
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Format: Audio CD
All of the tracks on this CD are classics--but you already knew that. TD's biggest-selling records from 1935-1944 are included, several featuring young Frank Sinatra. The disc is a little on the short side, with only 15 tracks and 48 minutes of music, and I'm disappointed that a few essential TD tracks were left out ("The Dipsy Doodle" and "The Music Goes 'Round And 'Round," for example). The sound quality is disappointing too; why do record companies still insist on drenching these old records in artificial reverb? This disc sounds like many of those unauthorized cheap import CDs of big band music. I have original 78s for all of the selections on this disc, and in every case, those 65-year-old records sound brighter and clearer than this CD (albeit with a little bit of surface noise). The casual listener may not be as bothered by the sound as I am, but knowing how good these things *can* sound, it's frustrating that it's so difficult to find decent transfers on CD (another RCA TD compilation, "The Seventeen Number Ones," suffers from the same muddy, echoey sound as this disc). The liner notes to this CD are short and difficult to read--they're choppy, and consist of 1-3 sentence anecdotes about each piece. Overall, this is another forgettable rehash of classic Tommy Dorsey material. Keep looking, there must be a better CD of this stuff out there.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These musical selections and performances by Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra couldn't be better. It is an outstanding collection. I've had the cassette tape forever and since it's on it's last legs decided that I better get the disc and enjoy the superior quality of a CD. Unfortunately the sharp, clear sounds usually heard on a disc are missing here. This CD rendition sounds muffled and far away. While I'm glad I do have this music preserved in case my tape breaks I'm perplexed as to why the manufacturer would release a disc in this condition. With the technology we have today I'm sure they could've done better. The brand name on the disc is Blue Bird. Perhaps you can find a different maker and get a good rendition. If you are a Big Band lover your search will be worth it---this is a must-have for any BB collection!
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