Various Artists

Great American Composers: Frank Loesser

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This double CD is a musical treat, but a frustrating one -- the selection of material is impeccable, the range mind-bending as it extends from bandleaders Kay Kyser, Harry James, and Mitch Miller to singers Michele Lee, Doris Day, and Tony Bennett in pop, and Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday in jazz, with group contributions by the Four Lads ("Standing On the Corner") and the Kirby Stone Four ("Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat"), operatic-style work by Robert Weede and Jo Sullivan ("My Heart Is So Full of You"), and out to voices ftom the all-but-forgotten past such as Lola Albright ("Two Sleepy People"). Someone did their homework in putting this together, but the absence of anything resembling program notes, or even an indication of which performances are from existing cast recordings, nullifies the cleverness of the selection and programming. Even some of the virtues of the surprises are muted -- the Kay Kyser version of "Jingle, Jangle, Jingle," for instance, has a bounce that Tex Ritter's familiar hit lacks, but it would be nice to know who the lead singer is, information that is not included.