Harry James

Harry James & His Orchestra: 1939-1949

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It's not 30 minutes long, and it's got only ten tracks, but this is a good CD, showing off the work of Harry James in a series of virtuoso performances. "Mean to Me" is probably the best and most representative track here, a swinging number highlighted by some hot trumpet courtesy of James, and "Undecided" runs only a little bit behind in appeal. Some tracks ("Rose Room") are more subtle, but the performances are all engaging and lively; a lot of care has gone into the selection, which is entirely instrumental. Everything is live, from radio broadcasts before full audiences, and one gets a strong sense of room ambience, as well as listener reaction and response. Songs include "My Baby Just Cares for Me," "I've Found a New Baby," "Shady Lady Bird," and "Rank Frank."

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