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Anthology of Big Band Swing, 1930-1955

4.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 26, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

Along with Bluebird, Decca was the foremost label for big band throughout the swing era, and this two-CD set collects 40 of the best tracks from its voluminous vaults. Among the 37 bands featured: Fletcher Henderson, Jimmie Lunceford, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie ( One O'Clock Jump ), Chick Webb, Glenn Miller ( early stuff), Jimmie Dorsey, Stan Kenton, Artie Shaw, Jay McShann, Erskine Hawkins and Duke Ellington.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Rockin' In Rhythm - Duke Ellington
  2. The House Of David Blues - Fletcher Henderson
  3. Saratoga Drag - Luis Russell
  4. Savage Rhythm - Mills Blue Rhythm Band
  5. Chant Of The Weed - Don Redman
  6. St. Louis Blues - Dorsey Brothers
  7. Rock And Rye - Earl Hines
  8. Down South Camp Meeting - Fletcher Henderson
  9. Avalon - Jimmie Lunceford
  10. In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree - Claude Hopkins
  11. The Darktown Strutters' Ball - Tiny Bradshaw
  12. Polka Dot Rag - Noble Sissle
  13. Stompin' At The Savoy - Isham Jones
  14. Peg O' My Heart - Glenn Miller
  15. One O'Clock Jump - Count Basie
  16. Casa Loma Stomp - Casa Loma Orchestra
  17. South Rampart Street Parade - Bob Crosby
  18. Liza (All The Clouds'll Roll Away) - Chick Webb
  19. Dunkin' A Doughnut - Andy Kirk
  20. You Rascal, You - Louis Armstrong

Disc: 2

  1. Panassie Stomp - Count Basie
  2. Transcontinental - Spud Murphy
  3. Jamaica Jam - Teddy Powell
  4. Okay For Baby - Benny Carter
  5. Blues In The Groove - Jan Savitt
  6. Murderistic - Jimmy Dorsey
  7. Swingmatism - Jay McShann
  8. Savoy - Lucky Millinder
  9. Blue River - Jack Teagarden
  10. Chicago - Muggsy Spanier
  11. Fish Market - Roy Eldridge
  12. Gambler's Blues - Stan Kenton
  13. I've Got You Under My Skin - Woody Herman
  14. Skyliner - Charlie Barnet
  15. Million Dollar Smile - Lionel Hampton
  16. Midriff - Duke Ellington
  17. Bear Mash Blues - Erskine Hawkins
  18. The Continental - Artie Shaw
  19. The Blue Room - Tommy Dorsey
  20. One O'Clock Jump - Benny Goodman


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 26, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Decca / GRP
  • ASIN: B000003N3T
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,118 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
OK, so you've acquired a small collection of recordings by the major big bands (Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, etc.), but you want to know where to go next. This 2-CD set is an excellent choice. Not a true anthology of the whole (first) swing era, since it is limited to what is in the MCA (Decca) vaults and most of the majors recorded for Victor (or its Bluebird label) or Columbia, but there are some great sides here done by many bands often overlooked today. Nowhere else are you going to find Don Redman, Noble Sissle, Teddy Powell and Lucky Millinder on one collection. All of these had hard-swinging bands which deserve to have more of their material released. Even the selections presented here from the major bands are ones you will be unlikely to encounter elsewhere. Glenn Miller did "Peg O' My Heart" long before he had achieved any following and before he had developed the 'Miller sound' (and yes, that's writer and good Miller friend, George T. Simon, sitting in on the drums). I usually pass on big band collections, since I find that I have too many of the same recordings already, but I jumped on this one. Sure, I have some of these on either LP or CD, but there are just too many good bands here. Great liner notes, too, so you can introduce yourself to some of the finest bands you probably never heard of before. (And there's Earl Hines, and Benny Carter, Isham Jones, and Mugsy Spanier, even the Mills Blue Rhythm Band, and ...)
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Format: Audio CD
Its Not often I come across a CD like this one. I am a Swing Dancer, and I dance the "Lindy Hop", a dance created in the 1930's on the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. I gave it five Stars because EVERY song on this compilation is Great. Unlike some other compilations, the songs are all good quality recordings. A compilation of Big Band Swing Hits means all songs are meant to have a 8 count rhythm, that's what the big band swing era and swing dancing was all about. (The CD set is appropriately titled). If you are expecting contemporary jazz this isn't it but even then you still may find yourself giving it a four star rating =]
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Format: Audio CD
This is a glorious collection. The cover art is indeed repugnant. And some of the recordings are a little hissy. But the performers sound pretty mean to me.
A good anthology covers the big numbers (though maybe not the biggest) and also uncovers mistakenly overlooked items. This does a good job on that, for the relative novice. And it also moderates between up-tempo and more relaxed performances, so it's not just constant swing. Another tip o' the hat--well-chosen selections. I had never heard of Lucky Millinder when I bought this, nor The Mills Blue Rhythm Band, nor the Casa Loma Orchestra. Those cuts alone made it worth the price--this stuff swings! And I found some new bands to investigate as well....never enough CDs on the shelf!
I found this collection almost perfect. How can anyone say Saratoga Drag doesn't swing....my shoulders gyrate and hips swivel. And I'm an old, non-dancing, rhythm-free guy. Thanks Decca!
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Format: Audio CD
Strictly speaking, "swing" designates a style of performance in which the emphasis falls on the offbeat. Even so the term "big band swing" is a flexible one, and if your ideas about it center on the style of The Glenn Miller Orchestra you will likely be disappointed with this double disk collection, which ranges in tone from the strict tempos of the Deco era to the bop-inflected sounds popular in post-World War II America.

In the big band era, most popular ballrooms and dance clubs had a "house orchestra," and each strove to create a specific style that would set them apart in the highly competitive world of big band music--and overall this collection does a superior job of capturing both the broad differences and subtle nuances that made each band distinctly different from the rest, as well as giving the listener an overview of the form as it changed over time. Consequently, the selections here are not often the most popular, but rather most indicative.

The emphasis here is really more upon lesser known bands and then-popular but now forgotten releases, including such one-hit wonders as Casa Loma Orchestra, a house band that reached a brief popularity with the "Casa Loma Stomp." Even so, there are famous names aplenty, such as Duke Ellington, The Dorsey Brothers, Count Basie, Chick Webb, Louis Armstrong, Woody Herman, Bennie Goodman, Artie Shaw--and yes, even the inescapable and to my mind slightly overrated Glenn Miller, to name but the most obvious.

Hardcore fans are likely to regret the absence of certain artists and certain tunes--my own complaint is that Cab Calloway is absent from the collection, and it is unfortunate that Artie Shaw is represented by "The Continental" instead of "Begin the Beguine.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD has the most wonderful classic swing tunes I have heard. As a matter of fact, it has tunes that you don't find anywhere else. I keep looking around to find out what the most popular CD's are, and this one is never on the list. Either the majority of people haven't heard this collection, or the swing world needs to be advised. Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen have done a wonderful job of producing this collection. Personally, I think this CD will provide a full set of danceable tunes. If you haven't heard it, you gotta' listen to it. Currently, I have about 25 swing CD's in my collection. I still keep playing this one again and again. It's one of the Best!!!
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