Harry James

1948-1949

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Few would think of 1948-49 as being Harry James's best period for his popularity had peaked by 1945 and bop had surpassed swing. However James was surprisingly open to the influence of bop, he had dropped his string section and vocalists and a variety of modern arrangements (by Neal Hefti, Frank Devenport, Johnny Richards and Jimmy Mundy) often inspired his musicians. With trombonist Ziggy Elmer, altoist Willie Smith, Corky Corcoran on tenor, clarinetist Eddie Rosa and pianist Bruce MacDonald taking fine solos and James heard in peak form, this doubleLp (which contains rarely heard performances) is highly recommended to big band collectors, even with its lack of liner notes.