Muggsy Spanier & the Dixieland Band

Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean

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Cornetist Muggsy Spanier's final recording as a leader is a real gem. During 1941-43 he had led a fine big band similar to Bob Crosby's Bobcats that recorded seven selections before breaking up. Twenty years later. a new big band was put together for a record released by the Ava label that was later reissued on CD by Mobile Fidelity. Spanier and the 15-piece group are heard performing nine Dean Kincaide arrangements from the old band's book (only "Chicago" had been recorded commercially), plus a new chart by Harry Betts of "Midnight in Moscow." Although his health was starting to fail, Spanier sounds in top form during this set, with a band also featuring solos by trombonist Moe Schneider, clarinetist Matty Matlock and tenor saxophonist Eddie Miller. This final act in the Muggsy Spanier story is highly recommended.