Harry James

Harry James and His New Jazz Band, Vol. 1

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In January 1956, Harry James broke up his big band and formed a nonet that utilized the key soloists from his orchestra. That particular outfit did not make any studio recordings and by year end James was leading another orchestra. Fortunately, the small group was captured live at the Hollywood Palladium and during a radio transcription session, and this music has been reissued on two CDs by Mr. Music. The group consists of James and Nick Buono on trumpets, tenor saxophonist Herbie Steward (who was subbing for Corky Corcoran), Herb Lorden on clarinet and alto, altoist Willie Smith, valve trombonist Juan Tizol, pianist Larry Kinnamon, bassist Floyd Blanton, and drummer Buddy Rich. Peggy King and Buddy Rich take some vocals and the arrangements are by Neal Hefti. James, who was 40 at the time, is heard throughout in prime form, jamming on such numbers a "Perdido," "Back Beat Boogie," "Honeysuckle Rose," and "Caxton Hall Swing." The usual nostalgia/show biz element is at a minimum and the trumpeter sounds quite happy to be jamming with such fine musicians. Easily recommended to swing fans.