Throughout most of his career, trumpeter Charlie Spivak was content to lead a successful, sweet-oriented big band, one that played first class dance music but very little jazz. However, for a period from 1942-1943, altoist Willie Smith (who had just left Jimmy Lunceford's Orchestra) and drummer Dave Tough joined Spivak's outfit and some more jazz-oriented arrangements were added to the book. This CD from the collectors' Jazz House label features several previously unreleased broadcasts by Spivak's short-lived swing band. When one considers that the recording strike of the period kept this unit off of commercial records, this is a particularly valuable release. Among the high points are "Loveless Love" (which has a vocal by Smith), a hard-driving "Swingin' the Blues," a comedy routine by Smith, three numbers that were recorded as tests for the movie Follow the Boys (none of which were used in the film) and a lengthy "Star Eyes" (which has a vocal by Irene Daye). A surprising release.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow