Various Artists

Big Band Leaders: The Roots of Swing

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Rather than truly examining the "Roots of Swing," this scrappy little budget sampler serves up 12 examples that characterize the heyday of big-band swing. With Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, Charlie Barnet, Les Brown and Woody Herman crowding the slate, there's barely room for Duke Ellington and Count Basie. This is another example of how the social marginalization of black musicians is still being replicated and perpetuated in the media marketplace. A more accurate and worthwhile "Roots of Swing" big-band compilation would also include Bennie Moten, Fletcher Henderson, Luis Russell, Claude Hopkins, Jimmie Lunceford, Cab Calloway, Erskine Hawkins, Andy Kirk, Earl Hines and Jay McShann. Other labels have managed to do exactly that; even a cursory perusal should turn up better compilations. If no other options present themselves, then this will do in a pinch.

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