Trombonist Ted Heath came of age musically during the 1930s as a member of the Ambrose and Geraldo orchestras. In 1944, he began making records under his own name, and kept it up for a quarter of a century, absorbing and adapting to various trends in jazz and popular music until deteriorating health forced him to relinquish control of the band to arranger Roland Shaw after 1968. Dutton Vocalion's Decca Singles and Rarities, Vol. 4 presents 31 schnazzy delights recorded between 1951 and 1965, largely concentrating upon the campy space age pop and lounge aspect displayed by Ted Heath & His Music during the first half of the '60s. This entertaining retrospective includes themes from the stage and screen productions Lord of the Flies, Mary Poppins, Lawrence of Arabia, The Carpetbaggers, The Gospel, A New Kind of Love, Oliver, and My Fair Lady. "Saturday Jump" was the theme music from the radio program Saturday Club, whereas "Bombay Duckling" (from Kipling), "Hit and Miss" (from Juke Box Jury), and "Saturday Night Beat" (from On the Braden Beat) all derive from television shows. Ted Heath's discography is peppered with impressive song titles, as is this collection. Runners up in the oddball division are "Cha Cha Black Sheep," "Ma Curly Headed Baby Cha Cha," "Crazy Mixed Up Waltz," and "Telegoon Toon." The delectably titled "Skate 'N' Chips" (a reference to pan fried stingray) is a go-go treatment of Johann Strauss II's world famous waltz, the "Blue Danube." Perhaps the biggest surprise in this collection is a big-band arrangement of Lee Morgan's hit of 1965, "Sidewinder." Given Heath's habitual references to modernity (as in the album titles Gershwin for Moderns, Kern for Moderns, and Rodgers for Moderns), this foray into authentically contemporary Blue Note jazz territory is an impressive milestone in the protean stylistic peregrinations of Ted Heath & His Music.
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