Various Artists

Big Bands!

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Because the Onyx label had only a brief existence, its LPs are all quite rare. Most of its very valuable bop-oriented music has not yet been reissued on CD. This album has eight obscure titles by an all-star big band in 1947 called The Mills Blue Rhythm Band but having little resemblance to the better-known orchestra of a decade earlier. Quite a few top jazzmen are heard from including trumpeter Charlie Shavers, the tenors of Lucky Thompson and Herbie Haymer, Stan Getz (on alto), altoist Willie Smith and pianist Jimmy Rowles among others. The second side has five selections from a big band headed by drummer Louie Bellson in 1964. "Tambori Suite" is purposely modern while the other numbers pay tribute to Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Chick Webb and Benny Goodman. Among the many soloists are trumpeters Freddie Hill and Harry Edison and tenors Harold Land and Babe Russin.