Erskine Hawkins

Holiday for Swing

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Sounds of Yester Year's Holiday for Swing is a modestly proportioned parcel of live recordings made during and shortly after the Second World War (specifically 1942-1946) by a popular big band under the leadership of trumpeter Erskine Hawkins. Live albums by this excellent band originated either as radio air checks of Jubilee variety shows in front of audiences composed almost entirely of Armed Forces personnel, or club dates which were also broadcast over the air. Some of the cuts on Holiday for Swing ("Let's Go Home" and a cover of Duke Ellington's "I'm Just a Lucky So and So") appear to have been recorded in May 1945 at the Blue Room in New York City. The opening track is a delightful surprise -- a six-and-a-half minute jam on the band's massive hit "Tuxedo Junction." Throughout the '40s this orchestra adapted steadily to changing musical tastes, easing into the newly defined rhythm & blues market; they scored considerable success in 1946 with "Sneakin' Out." While this is not exactly the lengthiest album in the Erskine Hawkins discography, the relatively rare live material has plenty of merit.

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