This CD wraps up Hep's three-CD reissue of all of the recordings of the 1940-1942 Claude Thornhill Orchestra. The disc begins with eight selections from radio transcription sessions recorded in March and April of 1941 and then continues with the 17 numbers (including two versions of "Lullabye of the Rain") that the Thornhill band cut during February through July of 1942. Among the more notable performances of this unique band (which by 1942 had two French horns and could not be classified as just "swing" or "sweet") are "Night and Day," "Grieg's Piano Concerto," "Buster's Last Stand" (one of nine songs arranged by Gil Evans), "There's a Small Hotel," "I Don't Know Why," and a surprisingly hot version of "Stealin' Apples." Although the soloists along the way include trumpeter Randy Brooks and clarinetist Danny Polo, it is the atmospheric ensembles that gave the Claude Thornhill Orchestra its own niche.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow