The great arranger Don Redman made Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra in the mid-1920s the first real swing band, but during the swing era itself, Redman was little known to the general public. His big band (heard here on the second of three "complete" Classics CDs) failed to really catch on, although it stayed together throughout the 1930s. After recording a bunch of sessions in 1933, Redman's orchestra only cut two sides in Jan. 1934 and then none until May 1936. There are vocals on 22 of the 25 selections on this CD; of the three instrumentals, this version of "Christopher Columbus" might not be by Redman. The leader's charming vocals are fine, but the nine by Harlan Lattimore are of lesser interest, and Chick Bullock dominates a six-song session. There are some good solos along the way, particularly by trumpeter Sidney DeParis, trombonists Benny Morton and Claude Jones and the forgotten tenor Robert Carroll, but this CD is primarily for completists.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow