Les Elgart (tp), Larry Elgart (as, ss), Bill Finegan, A. Gilbert, Turk Van Lake, John Murtaugh (arr)
Reference: BMCD 894
Bar code: 8427328008945
· Collector's Edition
· Issued in Digipack
· 2 Original LPs on 1 CD
· Original Cover Art and Liner Notes
· Stereo Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
There have been no more enticing invitations out on the jazz dance floor than that of the orchestra of Les and Larry Elgart, with their sharp and clean sound. Their arrangements are full of life and invention in a modern idiom, the melodies always backed by the Elgart’s solid musical ideas about sound and texture. As for the men behind the instruments, they are all grounded in the jazz tradition, and show their ability for fine ensemble playing. Any of the tunes in this album is bound to provide plenty of musical thought, but it is likely that before the thought begins to get too deep, the feet will begin tapping and the dance will be on. And that was always the leaders’ intention.
Each album by the Elgart brothers hit the best-seller list with almost monotonous regularity, and each was as fresh and appealing as its predecessor. Their intense search for perfection always led them further and further into experimentation in an effort to find a mellow, haunting tone, with a definite, recognizable style. The absence of piano, for example, makes for a light, swinging and airy sound, with a depth and richness that is almost tangible in this happy collection of standard favorites and Elgart originals.
"Brothers Les and Larry Elgart formed their first jazz-tinged dance band in 1945 - an unpropitious time to enter the sphere when many name leaders were crashing. The Elgart crew limped on until 1948 before their demise. However, re-forming in 1953, and with Columbia behind them, the band purveyed a brand of swinging dance accompaniments, notable for crisp, precise ensemble playing and smooth, catchy charts, and became a huge commercial success.
Many jazz musicians passed through the ranks - trombonist Eddie Bert, bassist Sonny Dallas, saxophonists Eddie Shu and Vinnie Dean, drummer Jerry Segal, guitarist Turk Van Lake among them. For young jazzers, the Elgart stable was the perfect place to learn the value of accurate section work, and for more established figures it was a refuge when jazz gigs dried up.
This was essentially an ensemble outfit, with solos as rare as hens' teeth. Any surplus space often went to Larry Elgart, featured on several titles, but in any case there wasn't much room for personal embellishment since every track bar one runs for under three minutes. This adherence to minimalist performance in the heyday of the LP is not as puzzling as it may seem at first glance. Many of these compact tracks would have found their way into jukeboxes in dance clubs, bars and studios.
The playing is always bright and very listenable. The Elgarts should be praised for their meticulous arrangements and for recruiting the likes of Bill Finegan to supplement the orchestrations; he was responsible for the charts on both Rye and Billy Boy. Of its type and for the audience it was aimed at this was classy music of a standard that would ultimately disappear under the weight and volume of rock ’n’ roll."
Mark Gardner (November, 2017)
Jazz Journal Magazine