Sy Oliver & His Orchestra / Billy May & His Orchestra, featuring Charlie Shavers, Pete Candoli (tp), Trummy Young (tb, vcl), Willie Smith (as), Joe Thomas, Sam Taylor, Ted Nash (ts), Billy Kyle, Jimmy Rowles (p), George Duvivier (b), Jimmy Crawford (d)
This edition contains Sy Olivers complete LP "The Original Arrangements of Jimmie Lunceford in Hi-Fi", plus nearly all of the songs from Billy Mays LP "Jimmie Lunceford in Hi-Fi". These 1957 albums were made in tribute to Lunceford on the 10th anniversary of his death.
01. FOR DANCERS ONLY (3:11)
02. MARGIE (3:19)
03. FOUR OR FIVE TIMES (3:09)
04. DREAM OF YOU (3:40)
05. AINT SHE SWEET (3:14)
06. ORGAN GRINDERS SWING (3:16)
07. TAINT WHAT YOU DO (3:08)
08. MY BLUE HEAVEN (4:10)
09. CHEATIN ON ME (2:53)
10. BY THE RIVER SAINTE MARIE (2:59)
11. IM WALKING THROUGH HEAVEN WITH YOU (3:14)
12. RHYTHM IS OUR BUSINESS (2:50)
13. TAINT WHAT YOU DO (2:59)
14. UPTOWN BLUES (2:51)
15. MARGIE (3:04)
16. ANNIE LAURIE (3:05)
17. FOR DANCERS ONLY (2:44)
18. CHARMAINE (3:12)
19. COQUETTE (3:10)
20. WELL ALL RIGHT THEN (2:52)
21. BLUES IN THE NIGHT (5:14)
22. FOUR OR FIVE TIMES (3:06)
23. CHEATIN ON ME (2:53)
24. RHYTHM IS OUR BUSINESS (3:19)
Total time: 77:45 min.
Tracks #1-12 originally issued as SY OLIVER & HIS ORCHESTRA "The Original Arrangements of Jimmie Lunceford in Hi-Fi" (Decca DL 8616). Personnel: Charlie Shavers, Bernie Glow, Taft Jordan, Paul Webster (tp), Henderson Chambers, Dickie Harris, Frank Rehak (tb), Howard Johnson (cl, as), Sam "The Man" Taylor (ts), Ernie Caceres (bs), Billy Kyle (p), Everett Barksdale (g), George Duvivier (b), Jimmy Crawford (d) and Sy Oliver (arr, dir, vcl). Recorded in New York City, May 1950 & August 1957.
Tracks #13-24 originally issued as BILLY MAY & HIS ORCHESTRA "Jimmie Lunceford in Hi-Fi" (Capitol T 924). Personnel: Pete Candoli, Mannie Klein, Mickey Mangano, Ollie Mitchell, Conrad Gozzo (tp), Trummy Young (tb, vcl), Si Zentner, Joe Howard, Ed Kusby, Dick Noel (tb), Willie Smith (as, bs, vcl), Wilbur Schwartz (cl, as), Joe Thomas (ts), Ted Nash (ts), Bob Lawson, Chuck Gentry (bs), Jimmy Rowles (p), Al Hendrickson (g), Joe Mondragon (b), Alvin Stoller (d), Dan Grissom (vcl) and Billy May (dir, arr). Recorded in Hollywood, May & June 1957.
-Sy Oliver "Jimmy Lunceford in Hi Fi"
"Among Sy Oliver's many recordings for Decca in 1950 were quite a few tunes which he originally arranged for Jimmie Lunceford's band. Eight of them were gathered for a 10" Decca LP, "For Dancers Only" (DL 5296); in 1957, five additional songs were recorded to expand the disc to 12" (DL 8616) and give it a new title, "The Original Arrangements of Jimmie Lunceford in Hi-Fi."
Interestingly, with this latter album Decca aimed to give direct competition to Capitol Records, where producer David Cavanaugh suggested that Billy May, a fan of the old Lunceford two-beat, record a tribute, "Jimmie Lunceford in Hi-Fi," to mark 10 years since Lunceford's death. The Capitol dates were held on June 15 (which happened to be a Saturday), 16 (a Sunday), and 18, 1957; Decca got Oliver in the studio on August 16, 1957.
Not only did Capitol boast that their project was done with the approval of the Lunceford estate, but - apart from a "full-dimensional" stereo which, to my ears, was not yet fully perfected - May's boasted the participation of Lunceford alumni Trummy Young, Willie Smith, Joe Thomas, and Dan Grissom.
However, there was nothing at all wrong with the Sy Oliver performances - his band was great, too, including (with variation between the 1950 and '57 personnel) former Lunceford men Paul Webster, Eddie Wilcox, and Jimmy Crawford, not to mention his own catchy and inimitable vocalizing. Decca's engineers captured a good sound, still evident on this Lone Hill Jazz reissue. I could listen to those records over and over!
Lone Hill Jazz has also done an attractive job replicating the actual cover and including the original liner notes. Were the May Capitol sides not already on CD, this might have been a musically-valid pairing. Due to space limitations, three of the fifteen songs from May's record were left off. But since all fifteen were easily available [ see the June 2007 "Big Band News" ], Lone Hill Jazz should have chosen another path. I suppose they could have collected the original Lunceford recordings and put them together with Oliver's, sort of a "then and now" approach."
Christopher Popa -Big Band Library