A native of Cambridge, MA, Eddy Duchin (1909-1951) abandoned a career in pharmacology to become bandleader Leo Reisman's pianist in 1929, performing at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and the Central Park Casino. Like Ted Fiorito and Victor Young, Duchin's entire professional existence was emblematic of politely accessible background music with relatively circumstantial links to jazz. Formed in 1931, Eddy Duchin & His Orchestra was the definitive society dance band of the decade, serenading the clientele at posh nightspots and swank hotels while appearing on popular radio programs hosted by George Burns, Gracie Allen and Ed Wynn.
Living Era's Eddy Duchin Story: 24 Vintage Tracks focuses upon his Victor recordings made between May 19, 1933 and October 10, 1938, during Duchin's peak of popularity. This stratum is thickly padded with pop vocals by Duchin's star singer Lew Sherwood, as well as Jerry Cooper, Buddy Clark, Stanley Worth, the DeMarco Sisters and composer Harold Arlen, who squeezes out the lyrics to his own ballad, "Ill Wind." Although humorous moments occur during "I'm an Old Cowhand" and "The Merry Go Round Broke Down," most of the material is soothing, sentimental mood music. This fine tribute album will compare and contrast nicely with Columbia's 1956 motion picture The Eddy Duchin Story, starring Tyrone Power, Kim Novak and pianist Carmen Cavallero.