Bobby Hackett

A String of Pearls

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Bobby Hackett was in Glenn Miller's band for a little over a year in 1941-1942, and he had a memorable solo on "A String of Pearls." This collection, recorded more than 20 years later, recalls Hackett's tenure with Miller, but in a noticeably different style. "And Other Great Songs Made Famous by the Glenn Miller Orchestra" is the subtitle, but the contents do not live up to that claim. "Blue Moon," "Georgia on My Mind," and "Rhapsody in Blue" were famous long before Miller ever organized a band, and "Jersey Bounce," "Poor Butterfly," and "Stompin' at the Savoy" were not hits for him, but for others. That's half the tracks that don't conform to the album's concept. Hackett is accompanied by what the liner notes call "Wall-to-Wall Strings and Brass," a large ensemble, in new arrangements by Miller alumnus George Williams. This is really an attempt to update Miller in a style more reminiscent of Lawrence Welk or Jackie Gleason. As he did with Gleason, Hackett gives the music some jazz credibility, playing distinctively when he gets in front of the microphone. But the result is still closer to easy listening music than swing.