One of hundreds of compilations charting the brief but hugely prolific and successful career of U.S. jazz trombonist, arranger, composer, and bandleader Glenn Miller, Sony's 2010 The Very Best Of can perhaps lay claim to be the most sonically polished to date, having undergone 400 hours of remastering from producers Mike Hedges (U2, Dido) and Simon Franglen (the Avatar & Titanic soundtracks). The 24-track collection features material starting with his 1939 RCA recordings with the Glenn Miller Band ("Little Brown Jug," "Over the Rainbow") up until his work with the Army Air Force Band ("St Louis Blues March," "Over There"), before his disappearance in 1944. One of the most influential figures in swing music, Miller scored an unprecedented amount of American chart hits, several of which are included here, such as number ones "A String of Pearls," "When You Wish Upon a Star" and "(I've Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo," alongside "Moonlight Serenade," one of just 14 original compositions penned by Miller. In addition to his popular instrumentals, there are also many vocal-led tracks with performances from Tex Beneke, Paula Kelly, and the Modernaires on Sun Valley Serenade soundtrack number "Chattanooga Choo Choo," Ray Eberle on "On a Little Street in Singapore," and Marian Hutton on "The Woodpecker Song." Of course, Miller's most famous piece is the timeless "In the Mood," which features here twice in both its original form, and in a version with newly recorded vocals from Jodie Prenger, winner of I'd Do Anything, Andrew Lloyd Webber's BBC talent search to find a new lead to play Nancy in the West End musical Oliver. With its excellent sound quality, comprehensive track list, and a brand new recording, The Very Best of Glenn Miller is one of the stand-out collections from the big-band genre's most iconic musician.
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AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien