Harry James

Harry James and His Orchestra 1936-1938

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This collector's LP (which looks like a bootleg due to the blank back cover) is worth searching for by swing collectors, for it contains the master takes of the dozen songs that trumpeter Harry James recorded at his first three sessions as a leader. At the time James was still a sideman with Benny Goodman but he actually drew his players during the first two dates mostly from the Count Basie Orchestra including trombonist Eddie Durham (who provided the arrangements), the legendary tenor Herschel Evans and singer Helen Humes. The third session uses mostly Goodman sidemen (pianist Jess Stacy is an important asset on all of the selections) plus baritonist Harry Carney. Highlights of these numbers include "Jubilee," "Life Goes to a Party," "One O' Clock Jump" and "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams". This LP is wrapped up by a couple of rare selections from 1936 that feature James (in his pre-Goodman days) with a group taken from the Ben Pollack Orchestra including clarinetist Irving Fazola. All of this music deserves to be reissued on CD but little has appeared thus far.