An alumnus of the Glenn Miller organization, alto sax player Hal McIntyre led an above-average swing band beginning in November 1944 and continuing into the 1950s. This album captures broadcast transcriptions during the band's maturation period. Although it was McIntyre's boss, Glenn Miller, who provided the financing to get the band off the ground, it was the Duke Ellington's orchestra that influenced the way the band played. The dedication to Ellington prompted the band to use more jazz material than some of its more famous competitors. McIntyre didn't have many name players during the time covered by the album, November of 1944 through May of 1945. Perhaps the best known was the Jimmy Blanton-influenced Eddie Safranski and the Tricky Sam Nanton-type trombone player Jim Emert. There are several cuts on the album that showed McIntyre's admiration for the Ellington style such as "Sherman Sherbert," a takeoff on the Duke's "Sherman Shuffle." But none reveals Ellington's influence more than "When Buddha Smiles." Emert wails like Nanton, McIntyre's alto recalls Johnny Hodges, and Johnny Hayes' tenor comes straight from the Ben Webster of Duke's Blanton/Webster band. McIntyre's feel for jazz rhythms is heard throughout but especially on such rompers as "Rockin' and Ridin," "Cool as a Fool in a Pool," and "King Porter Stomp." Critical to the band's driving, swinging sound were the arrangers McIntyre employed: Danny Hurd (later to take over the piano chair), Dave Matthews, and Howard Gibeling, all of whoontributed impressive charts. Although never making it to the upper echelons of the big bands, Hal McIntyre nonetheless put together a talented group of musical craftsmen who produced some excellent performances, not many of which, unfortunately, have been documented on record.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan