On this interesting compilation released by Hep Records in 1998, trumpeter Harry James is heard leading his popular big band during sessions that took place in Hollywood and New York between June 1949 and November 1950. Most of the 25 selections were originally stored on 16" transcription discs which were distributed to radio stations to be used for recruitment purposes during Navy Show broadcasts, just in time for North Korea's occupation of Seoul on June 28, 1950 and the beginning of direct U.S. intervention in the Korean War a few days later. There are vocals by Art Lund ("Stardust" and "Body and Soul") and by a group of wholesome harmonizers known as the Skylarks, who were entrusted with songs like "Hurry Hurry Hurry," "Down By the Station" and "Don'cha Go 'Way Mad." Several different arrangers are listed, most significantly Jimmy Mundy, Neal Hefti and Harry James himself. In the band at this time were tenor saxophonist Corky Corcoran, ex-Jimmie Lunceford altoist Willie Smith, and Duke Ellington's longtime composer and arranger, Puerto Rican valve trombonist Juan Tizol. This collection also includes a pair of Ellington covers: "Things Ain't What They Used To Be" and "Slap Happy," originally a feature for Duke's baritone saxophonist Harry Carney. A big juicy slice of history, anyway you cut it.
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