A native of St. Petersburg Russia, Jan Savitt led an exciting swing band during the late 1930s and early '40s, comparable to Jimmy Dorsey's, Charlie Barnet's or Glen Gray's Casa Loma Orchestra. Released by Vintage Music Productions in 2001, It's Time to Jump and Shout samples Savitt's output during the years 1939-1941 and turns up quite a large number of energetic highlights. The album opens with "Quaker City Jazz," the Savitt organization's theme song, preserved on an on-air-shot from mid-September 1938, when his band was still known in some circles as the Top Hatters. Introduced by a smooth announcer broadcasting "from the studios of KYW Philadelphia", this little shot of adrenalin is followed by one of Savitt's biggest instrumental hits, "720 in the Books." With very few exceptions, the brisk pace is sustained throughout this collection, which contains swing adaptations of "Turkey in the Straw", "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers," and "My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice" from the grand opera Samson et Dalila by Camille Saint-Saens.
Note that the second versions of "That's a Plenty" and "Tuxedo Junction" are not alternate takes, but renditions recorded at entirely separate sessions. Arrangements were devised by Savitt himself, or by Johnny Watson, Billy Moore, or the great Eddie Durham, remembered as a pioneer of the electrically amplified guitar and a skilled arranger for the bands of Jimmie Lunceford, Count Basie, Artie Shaw, and the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Noteworthy instrumentalists on this album are trumpeter Johnny Austin, trombonists Al Leopold and Cutty Cutshall, and saxophonist Georgie Auld. Savitt's featured vocalist was George "Bon Bon" Tunnell of the Three Keys, the first African-American singer to work full-time with a white big band during this period. Tunnell sings on about one-third of the tracks, sounding particularly good during the wryly cynical "WPA" and on Slim Gaillard's "Vol Vist Du Gaily Star."