Enoch Light

Big, Bold and Brassy

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When Enoch Light's Command Records hit pay dirt with Persuasive Percussion in 1959 (the longest-lived album in the Billboard Top 100 for a good long time), Light quickly started to run the concept into the ground. Big, Bold and Brassy, from 1960, was the orchestra leader's tenth album in under two years with arranger Lew Davies. Subtitled "Percussion in Brass," it was packaged with the familiar striking Command Records graphics so as to alert consumers that here was another set of toe-tapping instrumentals for one's hi-fi. "Space Age Bachelor Pad Music" in its purest form, these 12 tunes (ranging from the theme to Billy Wilder's then-current Oscar winner, The Apartment, to the Ivy League standard "The Whiffenpoof Song" to the wacky novelty tune "When Yuba Plays the Rhumba on the Tuba") are arranged so as to show off the quality of one's equipment, as the technically minded and detailed liner notes attest. That said, the performances are sprightly, the arrangements inventive and witty, and the song choices are so patently bizarre that Big, Bold and Brassy, unlike many similar albums, can actually be listened to and enjoyed without irony.

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