In April 1965, Bobby Hackett was in England accompanying Tony Bennett at the London Palladium, which allowed his record label, Epic, time to set up some recording sessions. Hackett recorded two albums that month, and they have been combined on this discount-priced CD. Epic was interested in recording projects for Hackett that allowed a showcase for his trumpet playing, featured familiar material, and weren't particularly jazz-oriented. The concept for the first album recorded, Trumpets' Greatest Hits, was to have Hackett record a group of songs that had been hits in recordings prominently featuring the trumpet. It didn't much matter whether that association came because of Bix Beiderbecke (actually, a cornetist, not a trumpet player) on "Davenport Blues" or from Al Hirt on "Java." Hackett was accompanied by what were called "Wall-to-Wall Strings" on the cover, and that was a good description. No attempt was made to re-create the original recordings; instead, Hackett provided his individual interpretations. A String of Pearls nominally featured songs "made famous by the Glenn Miller Orchestra," though in practice half of them had been famous before Miller got to them or had been hits for other swing bands besides Miller's. Here, "Wall-to-Wall Strings and Brass" mostly got the better of Hackett, himself a Miller alumnus known for his solo on "A String of Pearls" (which he changed drastically here). The great trumpeter's tone was apparent throughout the two albums, but that was about the only jazz content on what were essentially easy listening records.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann