This volume in the Classics Gene Krupa chronology presents everything recorded by the Gene Krupa Orchestra between June 5 and October 3, 1941. These sessions took place in New York, Chicago, and Hollywood. The music came out on the OKeh label and was well received by a record-buying public with an apparently insatiable appetite for pop vocals. In addition to smooth crooning from Howard Dulany and Johnny Desmond there were snappy, jazzy vocals from Anita O'Day. Dulany's best moments occur during the humorous "Love Me as I Am," a humble opus peppered with references to snoring and tabletop doodling. But the real gold in this part of the Krupa saga came from trumpeter Roy "Little Jazz" Eldridge, whose magnificent presentation of Hoagy Carmichael's "Rockin' Chair" -- arranged by Benny Carter -- ranks with the best recordings Eldridge ever made under any circumstances. The enclosed discography leads one to expect a vocal on this track, but here Eldridge funneled his soul into the trumpet exclusively. In 1941 a black man performing with a white big band (and a white female singer!) often ran into racial discrimination. This probably explains why Roy Eldridge and Anita O'Day only sang together on a tiny handful of studio recordings. Here Eldridge adds a humorous extra dimension to O'Day's coolly understated vocal on "The Walls Keep Talking" by screaming loudly and skillfully imitating a barn owl before exclaiming "Lemme get out of here!"
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf