This 1999 release constitutes one of the most interesting selections of radio transcriptions left behind by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra. Made up of broadcast performances from the Paradise Restaurant on 49th Street in Manhattan, they're of exceptional historical interest, several tracks capturing Miller and his band months before they signed with RCA Victor, when they still hadn't been discovered by the public; Miller, in addition to leading the band, was doing all of the arrangements himself. This band had only been put together in March of 1938, and it's already possible to hear how they were going to make it, utilizing the attributes of jazz within the context of a clean, sharp, elegant pop sound. This was a dance band, not a jazz band, and the repertory is made up of breezy, swinging numbers, keeping a good beat and displaying lots of budding virtuosity. "The Dipsy Doodle," "Pavanne," and "By the Waters of the Minnetonka" (the latter six-minutes plus of pure gold) show off the group's hotter, more experimental sides, "I Want My Share of Love" (sung by Marion Hutton) the sweeping romantic profile that would make them pop favorites for decades. Gordon "Tex" Beneke plays some hot clarinet on several numbers, and the vocalists, in addition to Hutton, are Ray Eberle and Gail Reese (several vocal performances are unique to this collection). Even the material that the band did do on other occasions is worth hearing, however, not only to get a glimpse of its early incarnations, but to hear it played by a new band that was trying hard to make an impression, and get noticed, and putting out that extra snap in their playing for the radio audience. Apart from the music, the sound on this release is also a major attraction -- every detail on these 60-year-old radio transcription, from the bass to the high-hat, is clear and sharp, with gorgeous delineation of the horns and reeds.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder