Various Artists

Le Stelle del Jazz, Vol. 1

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In 1981 at least ten albums were released by an Italian label that made available a variety of mostly excellent music originally recorded in the mid-1940s as V-Discs. These performances were made specifically for American servicemen stationed overseas and the records were not supposed to survive the war. Fortunately most did, for there were many valuable (and sometimes unique) recordings cut during a time when an ill-fated musicians' strike had resulted in few commercial records being made. This particular album has fine spots for Dixieland musicians in a variety of settings. Bob Crosby and Martha Tilton sing a bit on "Pack up Your Troubles" before the Bobcats take over. Tilton returns for "Out of Nowhere" and there is also some singing by Jo Stafford, Louis Armstrong ("I'm Confessin'"), Ella Fitzgerald and Red McKenzie. However the emphasis is on the hot soloing and among the top players are trumpeters Yank Lawson, Billy Butterfield, Charlie Shavers and Bobby Hackett; trombonists Lou McGarity and Jack Teagarden; clarinetists Hank D'Amico and Peanuts Hucko; tenor saxophonists Boomie Richman, Bud Freeman and Al Sears; and vibraphonist Red Norvo (featured on "Flying Home"). Superior music that will hopefully be reissued in full on an American CD sometime.