The band led by drummer George Olsen became a well-known name on-stage and in nightclubs around New York after Florenz Ziegfeld hired Olsen for his musical Kid Boots. In 1925, George Olsen & His Music made a national splash with the song "Who?," followed by a full decade of prominent sides recorded for Victor. After decades of digital exile, ASV/Living Era finally compiled Beyond the Blue Horizon, including two dozen of the orchestra's finest (and sweetest) material. "Who?" is, of course, presented quite early on, an excellent piece of quick yet stately dance-band finery. Olsen's band usually leaned away from Tin Pan Alley pop, resulting in a series of well-played versions along the Berlin, Gershwin, and Rodgers & Hart axis of popular song ("Blue Skies," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "The Girl Friend"). Although Olsen's band would later include a few names of note to jazz fans, few on tap for these sides (from 1925 to 1933) are of note. Trombone player Jack Fulton has some good features, and also takes a few vocals.
Beyond the Blue Horizon Review
by John Bush