Casa Loma Orchestra

Best of the Big Bands [Columbia]

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Despite indifferent packaging (which does not bother to include a personnel listing or the exact recording dates), this 16-song CD is recommended to general collectors since no other major label has yet released a Casa Loma CD. Some of the orchestra's best early numbers are here (including its theme "Smoke Rings," "Black Jazz," "Maniac's Ball," "Casa Loma Stomp" and "Limehouse Blues"), clarinetist Clarence Hutcherider is well featured as the band's star soloist and these tricky Gene Gifford arrangements helped set the standard for the upcoming swing era.

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