Various Artists

Harlem Roots, Vol. 1: The Big Bands

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In the mid-'80s Storyville put out four LPs that contained the soundtracks of swing-oriented performances made for short films in the 1940s called soundies. This album has four selections from Duke Ellington (including "Cottontail" and "I Got It Bad"), three from Cab Calloway (highlighted by "Minnie the Moocher" and "Blues in the Night"), two by Count Basie (including a heated "Air Mail Special") and five by Lucky Millinder; two of the latter feature the powerful singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The concise performances (all around three minutes long) make an interesting comparison to the orchestra's regular studio recordings of the period and are particularly recommended to swing completists.

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