Harry James, Nick Buono, Pinky Savitt, Ralph Osbourne, Gene Komer, Everett McDonald, Neal Hefti, Juan Tizol, Victor Hamann, Ziggy Elmer, Chuck Predle, Eddie Rosa, Willie Smith, Joe Mondragon, Don Lamond, Louie Bellson
Reference: FSRCD 399
Bar code: 8427328603997
The tracks on this CD come from airsots,complete with typical announcements by radio MCs of the era, and Harry James himself also says a few words here and there. The album gets off to a storming start with trumpeter Neal Hefti's "There they go" and apart from one slow number it's swinging big band music all the way, with a roaring brass section, a swinging sax section and a four-man rhythm section that drives the band along in fine style.
Twelve of the twenty numbers come from th epen of Hefti, and they evince a definite Basie influence. The tireless Harry James is the principal soloist and plays everywhere with a lip-busting ferocity, and the bitig well-drilled trumpet section provide him with a brilliant backing, especially on "Snooty fruity" and "Rank Frank". "Forgotten", a very attractive romantic theme by Frank Davenport, is the longest track and the only slow ballad i the entire album, and features some very pretty playing from Willie Smith and Corky Corcoran, both of whom are in top form throughout the album. "Cotton tail" is played by a small unit from within the band while "Kerina" has a latin-american feel to it with some mariachi-type trumpet from Harry James, but space does not permit an appraisal of every track. It is enough to say that this is a big band album for pure enjoyment inwhich the spirited playing and contagious enthusiasm from the entire band is almost overwhelming. Exhilarating stuff.