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Stomp It Off

5 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 17, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

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Jimmie Lunceford's band was among the few organizations of the swing era that could challenge the Ellington orchestra for ensemble smoothness, and it's particularly good on the Ellington material here, such as "Mood Indigo" and "Black and Tan Fantasy." The pieces here were all recorded in a nine-month period of remarkable productivity. The arrangements by altoist Willie Smith tend to more straightforward swing, while those by trumpeter-vocalist Sy Oliver give the band its originality, with sudden shifts in rhythm, interpolations of full sections playing complex "solo" lines, and sudden reed wails and brass punctuations cutting through the refined sectional writing. The excellent sound quality makes this an ideal introduction to the Lunceford band. --Stuart Broomer
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 17, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca Jazz / GRP Records
  • ASIN: B000003N3D
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,149 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
If I were stuck on a desert island and I could only take one Jimmie Lunceford CD, Stomp It Off would be it. This CD, surprisingly a US release on Decca, is excellent, and gives one a difinitive overview of why Rhythm was Jimmie Lunceford's business with both takes of their theme song "Rhythm Is Our Business" a hauntingly swinging yet beautiful version of "Sophistocated Lady." All the songs on this CD are classics, from 1934-1935. Essentail for swing fans.
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Format: Audio CD
This was the hot, sweet, but sophisticated, party music of the Swing Era. No one was more popular among Black youth who needed music to party than Lunsford. No one out performed them in their stage show. They were decisive to the shape of big band music with their arrangers setting the pace for many other swing bands for decades after Lunsfords death in the mid 1940s.

When I saw the series that was purported to tell the story of Jazz on PBS a couple years ago, I thought I had missed an episode because there was not a full program about Lunsford, or continual mention of the great band and its decisive influence on Jazz. Then I went to my friend who is one of the planet's major jazz lovers and who videotapes anything broadcast with jazz or good music and asked him about the missing episode. He said there wasn't one. I couldn't believe it, just couldn't.

Jimmie Lunsford's orchestra was one of the great Jazz Bands along with Basie, Ellington, and Chick Webb. In many ways, they were the popular royalty of swing, because they presented a higher level of entertainment and were probably more popular among African Americans than Ellington, and were longer lasting than Basie.

Listen to this music. It's smooth, cool, fun, nothing but danceable. The vocals are clean and cool and when the band sings it isn't the usual hoarse half-shout---which I still ador whenever a swing band shouts back--but an organized choir. This is music that must have been what the coolest of the cool guys and gals of the time listened to and above all partied to at the height of the depression.
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By A Customer on July 13, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I actually don't have THIS album, but another of the same two years, 1934-1935. The tracks are all the same, only this cd has way more than my vinyl version. At any rate, Jimmie Lunceford and his orchestra have smooth class that I have not really heard from many other bands of this era. It's big band without all the fuss of a lot of brass. Interestingly, although Duke Ellington and Lunceford were two of the leading bands of their time (along with Fletcher Henderson and Count Basie) Ellington was an active supporter of Luncefords band and even gave them two songs he never recorded: "Bird of paradise" and "Rhapsody Junior." Which are on this cd. If you liked the samples, I would go ahead and pick this thing up!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Great CD if you are looking for an innovative band who was well respected in the big band era. I have several Lunceford CDs and some 78's. This CD contains many of Lunceford's best songs.

It is clear this band leader was a stickler for his music being crisp and precise. The songs on this CD are true to his style. You will not find on this CD just another arrangement of the most popular songs of the big band era. Sy Oliver was a great arranger who worked with Lunceford to produce some of his greatest tunes. I am told by a friend who worked in radio during this era that the Lunceford band was as amazing to see in person as they are to listen to today.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I used to not respect the Jimmie Lunceford band (orchestra?) A Paul Whiteman trained musician whose overly sweet style on his early 1930's recordings with the Chickesaw Syncopators that often featured novelty vocals and two beat dance music. But by 1934, the band had developed quite a personality thanks to (drumroll please) PRACTICE. The sheer polish of the numbers from a rigorous practice routine plus the arrangements of band members Sy Oliver and Willie Smith created some highly distinctive swing music. I used to insist that if there's no improvisation, it ain't Jazz. I've been here forced to reassess that stance.

A number may start out with a sly tongue in cheek schmaltz vocal but just when you start to be lulled to sleep, the tempo will double, or a soloist will counterpoint in a different time signature, of the brass section will suddenly explode with a roaring riff. Couldn't help but laugh out loud at times during the first listening, having my (low) expectations blown away by these nifty devices.

This stuff is very very catchy. Yes, most of the COMPOSITIONS are Ellington or other standards, but the ARRANGEMENTS are highly original while still most respectful of the spirit of the original. By the late 30's, Lunceford lost many of his best band members, including Smith and Oliver. The band tumbled headlong toward cliche-ridden pop music, which makes this collection so special.

And the frosting on the cake for me is alto sax player Willie Smith sounds a great deal like Johnny Hodges (not a copy, Willie's been around just as long).

Sound quality, like all in the Decca "Original Recoding Remastered" CDs from this era, is superb. John R.T. Davies strikes again!
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