Midnights at V-Disc documents two extended transcription sessions that were intended solely to entertain members of the U.S. military during World War II. The first dozen tracks come from a three-hour session, with seven different combinations of the many players present. Jack Teagarden's solid trombone and vocals are featured in both takes of "Jack Armstrong Blues," with Louis Armstrong sticking to ensembles. Tenor saxophonist Don Byas shines in both takes of "Rosetta," though trombonist Trummy Young and trumpeter Charlie Shavers also merit praise. Armstrong's warm vocals in both takes of "I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)" wrap the first date. For an early 1945 session, Woody Herman drew musicians from his own band, along with a few guests. Flip Phillips devours "The Jeep Is Jumpin'," while "Northwest Passage" showcases pianist Ralph Burns, tenorists Phillips and Georgie Auld, altoist Herbie Fields, vibraphonist Marjorie Hyams, trombonist Bill Harris, and finally, the leader on clarinet. While "Somebody Loves Me" is a Herman vocal feature, Ben Webster's magnificent tenor steals the show. Both sessions were well recorded and have survived the ravages of time very well.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden