- Audio CD (April 25, 2000)
- Original Release Date: April 25, 2000
- Number of Discs: 2
- Label: Rhino
- ASIN: B00004S825
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,896 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Hollywood Swing & Jazz: Hot Numbers From Classic M-G-M, Warner Bros. & RKO Films
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Say what you will about the state of entertainment-conglomerate megamergers, but this ambitious Rhino compilation of jazz in film--combining music selections from three studios--would have been all but impossible without them. More importantly, this satisfying set serves as a virtual primer of jazz's influence on American films and its rich, multihued heritage and diversity--be it the "race music" of the Mills Brothers' 1933 romp "Congo Fever," Duke Ellington and Hoagy Carmichael's elegant classicism, Louis Armstrong's refined Dixieland, the big-band swing of Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, and Benny Goodman, or even that unlikeliest of jazz chanteuses, Doris Day. Collectors will also be delighted at the generous sampling of stellar outtakes that surface here for the first time, including an Ellington reading of "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm," originally intended for the Marx Brothers' Day at the Races, a smoky Lena Horne rendition of "I'll Get By," originally recorded for Louis B. Mayer's personal collection. And there are no fewer than nine cuts from the 1960 hipster opus The Subterraneans, many featuring Andre Previn, Art Farmer, Gerry Mulligan, and Art Pepper. Painstakingly compiled and lovingly annotated, this set is both great entertainment and joyous history lesson. Regarding history, it bears noting that when much of America's radio and clubs were still strictly segregated, black jazz performers found their broadest public exposure via Hollywood. --Jerry McCulley
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My favorite examples here are the Bojangles/Fats version of "Great Big Way" (which opens the collection), Ellington's uncut rendition of "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" (Marx Brothers fans take note - this is different than the hacked version that you'll hear in "Day At The Races"), and the Andre Previn selections on disk 2 - there's some wonderful soloing here, as good as the material that Benny Goodman recorded with him in the late 50's.
Sure, there's a little hokey stuff in here too, like the Mel Torme' selection in disk 1, but it's good-natured and doesn't detract from the real gems of the collection. It's a narrowly better value than Rhino's previous movie nugget compilation, "Alive and Kickin'", and it's fair to say that if you like that one, then you'll love this CD too.
The list of performers here reads like a who's who of jazz:
DUKE ELLINGTON, COUNT BASIE, LOUIS ARMSTRONG, GERRY MULLIGAN,
LESTER YOUNG, BENNY GOODMAN, CARMEN McRAE, FATS WALLER, the list goes on and on. What really makes this collection sizzle, are the real rarities included. Who knew Duke Ellington had recorded music for A DAY AT THE RACES with the Marx Bros.? No one! Until
the producers here unearthed a track that had been recorded by 'Sir Duke' for that classic comedy that ended up on the cutting room floor. That's just one example of the jewels to be found here. There are several great vocal renditions, with everyone from Ethel Waters to Pearl Bailey, and you even get a whiff of Brazillian Bossa Nova Jazz with Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto doing a version of THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA that is slightly different (but just as incredible) than the famous recording.
Then there's unreleased material from Nat "King" Cole, Billy Eckstine, and even Dorothy Dandridge. My favorite track is a swingin' rendition of "One O'Clock Jump" by Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra that almost sounds like it's going to explode!
It's too bad that more people don't know about this album. It's one of the most creative assemblages ever released on CD. The album comes with a richly-illustrated booklet and great liner notes, too!