Les Brown

Les Brown Story

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The Les Brown band of the late '50s was a match for his classic group of the 1940s, which makes this re-recording of his classic sides in hi-fi all the more enjoyable. Freed from the constraints of early- to mid-'40s studio technology, and using Capitol's then state-of-the-art studios, the band generates rocking, glistening, and occasionally steamy boiling jazz-inflected pop. The soloists obviously have a great time working on tape, with none of the three-minutes-and-change time constraints that existed on lacquer masters, although one wishes that they had stretched out a little more to show what they could really do -- one of the places where you do get some of that on this album is "Midnight Sun," which is worth the price of admission by itself but could have been even greater with some different ambition. Alas, Capitol and Brown were evidently only aiming to satisfy his existing audience rather than cultivate new listeners -- but they still gave everyone more than they bargained for on this and a handful of other tracks here. The rest is all beautifully played pop-instrumental dance music, and well worth hearing five decades later, as much as Brown's '40s material.