After being discharged from the Navy in 1944, Artie Shaw formed his fifth and final swing-era big band, not counting the one he led while in the military. Although the clarinetist was intrigued by bebop and had pianist Dodo Marmarosa and guitarist Barney Kessel among his key soloists, Shaw mostly stuck to advanced swing in his music. For part of 1945 he had trumpeter Roy Eldridge as an important part of his band. This valuable CD features Shaw's orchestra (which broke up in November 1945) on five 15-minute weekly broadcasts from military bases during September and October. Eldridge is on the first two airchecks and then left the band, being replaced by Ray Linn. Although Eldridge is missed on the later broadcasts, Shaw's playing throughout is brilliant and his underrated band's ensembles always swing. The recording quality is excellent, most of this music was formerly rare, and highlights include "Little Jazz," "Lucky Number" (the most boppish of the numbers), "Scuttlebutt," "Jumpin' on the Merry-Go-Round," "The Sad Sack," and "The Glider." Highly recommended to swing collectors.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow