The Dorsey Brothers

Jazz Archives 1954-1956

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The latter-day (1954-56) Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, captured in live performances (for American Broadcasting System Jazz Radio) from the Cafe Rouge in the Statler Hotel, in midtown Manhattan. This is really the last Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with Jimmy brought back into the fold, and it's not a bad band -- it's playing swing of a particularly nostalgic type, even for swing (in contrast to the work of the Ellington and Basie bands), while jazz had moved on to bop, among other sounds, but it's a lively, elegant late-'30s/early-'40s brand of swing. What's more, it is live, and recorded in good, early modern sound, so one does get something of a feel for what a top concert by Tommy's band (with unimpeachable saxman Jimmy) would have been like in the latter's prime. The repertory does favor Tommy's side of the legacy ("Lover," "Song of India," "Opus 1"), and "Swanee River" is done as a six-minute piece, complete with extended solos, but Jimmy's career highlights get acknowledged as well. The singing is generally weak on the tiny handful of vocal numbers here ("Walk It Off" is an exception), and "Tangerine" could almost be dispensed with, except that even here the band, and especially Jimmy on the sax, does try hard.

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