Boyd Raeburn, who played bass saxophone in the sections of his big bands, was never much of a musician, but during 1945-1947, he led one of the most exciting, advanced, and unpredictable of all the big bands around. Raeburn was open to the ideas of his arrangers, and George Handy (during 1945-1946) and Johnny Richards (1946-1947) certainly challenged his musicians. Raeburn's music sometimes even made Stan Kenton's sound conservative in comparison. This two-LP set (which has been reissued on CD) has Raeburn's studio recordings and is highlighted by such memorable tunes as "Tonsilectomy," "Dalvatore Sally," "Boyd Meets Stravinsky," a remarkable satire (with countless key changes) of "Over the Rainbow," and "Hep Boyd's." Of particular interest are some of the vocals by Ginnie Powell and David Allyn (particularly "Temptation" and "Body and Soul"), because the "background" is so busy and dissonant as to make it quite a struggle for them to sing the songs straight. In addition to featuring the 1946 Raeburn orchestra (with four selections apiece from 1945 and 1947), this set concludes with David Allyn singing four numbers in 1949 with Johnny Richards' orchestra. Fascinating and quite unique music.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow