Louis Prima

Lights! Camera! Zooma! Zooma!

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Plenty of people, especially those born after 1960, have become aware of Louis Prima in more recent times via the use of his music in numerous films of the late 20th century and early 21st century. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's still an eccentric premise to build a compilation around, as this 20-track CD does. All 18 of the Prima recordings here (two are not by Prima) were heard on the soundtracks of films issued between 1979 and 2008 (and one was also used long before that, in 1955's The Benny Goodman Story). It nonetheless adds up to a fairly good and representative, though not ideal, Prima compilation, including some of his most famous cuts ("That Old Black Magic," "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop," "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody") and some not as famed (and sometimes not used in more than one or two films, for that matter). The titles and years of release of the movies in which the songs appeared are dutifully listed in the liner notes, but it's a screwed-up world where that information takes precedence over the original release/recording dates of the tracks themselves, which are not printed or even referred to whatsoever in the annotation. But hey, if you just want a sizable sampling of Prima's infectious blend of jazz, jump, jive, a little bit of rock & roll and R&B, and a big heaping of Italian-American cheese, you could do worse (though you could also do better). As Prima was co-writer of the standard "A Sunday Kind of Love," two versions of that classic (by the Harptones and Etta James) are tacked on as bonus tracks at the end, though the Harptones' version apparently hasn't been used in a soundtrack.

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