All 20 of the Lucky Millinder Orchestra's valuable 1941-1942 recordings are on this recommended CD. Millinder himself was not a musician and his only vocal here is mostly shouting on "Ride, Red, Ride," but he was an effective bandleader and frontman. Other than a couple of World War II propaganda songs, the music on these sessions emphasizes swing, and several notable artists are featured. Sister Rosetta Tharpe (who also played excellent guitar) has six rollicking showcases, and among the soloists are clarinetist Buster Bailey, tenorman Stafford Simon, pianist Bill Doggett, and (on the final four songs) altoist Tab Smith and the rapidly emerging trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. On "Little John Special," Dizzy quotes directly from the as-yet-unwritten "Salt Peanuts." Other highlights include "Rock Daniel," "Apollo Jump," "Rock Me," "That's All," and "Mason Flyer."
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow