The Sauter-Finegan Orchestra

Return of the Doodletown Fifers

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Not too long after Eddie Sauter returned to New York from the S├╝dwestfunk in Baden-Baden, he and Bill Finegan organized another recording band to remake some of their ear-enticing charts that gave the big-band world a jolt in the early '50s. Yet as was so often the case with remakes, these simply lack the fully charged spark of the originals, although the unidentified studio musicians do a skillful job of retracing the old steps -- and occasionally come close. Naturally, the sound is better on the remakes -- that was the main point of the exercise -- but it's not that much better, for the original RCA Victors were pretty impressive for their time. Another point to this project was to bring Sauter-Finegan into the burgeoning turn-of-the-'60s mania for outlandishly orchestrated mood music albums -- what would become known as lounge in the 1990s. But by this time, jazz and pop arrangers had eclipsed Sauter-Finegan in audacity -- with tacky taste thrown in by the pop guys, too -- and these remakes would not create nearly as big an impact as New Directions in Music and its successors did.