Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra

1937, Vol. 3

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The seventh installment in the Classics Tommy Dorsey chronology opens with four love songs swung by the Clambake Seven and sung by Edythe Wright. On the bluesy and slightly dissonant "After You," the leader plays his trombone using a trumpet mouthpiece, creating a sound somewhat similar to what Jack Teagarden would achieve on his "Glass Blues" of 1944 using nothing more than a trombone mouthpiece and a water glass. Bud Freeman's solo on this track is nothing short of marvelous. A light smattering of instrumentals include a majestic and swinging version of Cole Porter's "Night and Day" arranged by Paul Weston, Jerome Kern's "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "Canadian Capers," and Hoagy Carmichael's "I May Be Wrong, But I Think You're Wonderful." Most of the selections feature pert or sentimental vocals. The goofiest track is "The Big Apple," a slaphappy Clambake Seven call and response number describing a "new dance" combining characteristics of nearly every popular step of the day. The band carefully recites "my my, yes yes," a phrase lifted directly from Fats Waller. This segment of the Dorsey chronology closes with a weirdly out of step remnant from vaudeville days. Back in 1902 a guy by the name of Fred Fisher came up with a barrelhouse rag bearing the dubious title "If the Man in the Moon Were a Coon." This Jim Crow novelty was published by Chicago's Will Rossiter, a shrewd businessman destined to succeed in 1917 with Shelton Brooks' famous proto-jazz hit, "The Darktown Strutter's Ball." The fact that Tommy Dorsey thought it was OK to record Fisher's "Coon" song in 1937 with Jack Leonard merrily enunciating the words speaks volumes about the state of U.S. culture and ethics during the 20th century. The tune itself, which sounds a little like Tony Jackson's "Pretty Baby," is very catchy and lends itself to full throttle jamming. Bud Freeman runs fiendish riffs up and down the tenor and Johnny Mince's clarinet percolates while Gene Traxler slaps his bass. It's one of this group's hottest records. If only they'd omitted the lyrics.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:35
2 2:30
3 3:18
4 2:32
5 2:36
6 2:51
7 2:29
8 3:03
9 2:54
10 3:16
11 2:38
12 2:20
13 2:36
14 2:18
15 2:34
16 2:38
17 3:22
18 2:09
19 2:53
20 2:41
21 2:51
22 2:52
23 2:23
24 3:12
blue highlight denotes track pick