Let's Dance: Themes of the Big Bands 1934-1947

Various Artists

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Let's Dance: Themes of the Big Bands 1934-1947 Review

by Johnny Loftus

For a budget-line production, Let's Dance isn't half bad. Gathering together some of the best-known bands and bandleaders (Xavier Cugat, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton) is sure to deliver at least a few gems, even if the recordings aren't from the artists' top shelf. That's what occurs here. Though versions of Basie's "One O'Clock Jump" and Ellington's "Take the 'A' Train" don't necessarily pop and fizz like some that listeners have heard, the groove is still there. Elsewhere, Clyde McCoy's "Sugar Blues" and Jimmie Lunceford's "Jazznocracy" swing with underground abandon, approximating the sound of the party depicted on the release's front cover. Though noise reduction technology has been employed here, many tracks still suffer from age. But Naxos has included full notes and recording details for each track. Overall, a thoroughly entertaining big-band comp for the casual fan.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Benny Goodman & His Orchestra 02:34 Amazon
2 Woody Herman 03:14 Amazon
3 Harry James & His Orchestra 02:34 Amazon
4 Xavier Cugat 02:58 Amazon
5 Count Basie Orchestra 03:01 Amazon
6 Bunny Berigan 04:49 Amazon
7 Bob Chester 03:14 Amazon
8 Clyde McCoy 02:48 Amazon
9 Glen Gray & the Casa Loma Orchestra 02:53 Amazon
10 Duke Ellington's Famous Orchestra 03:00 Amazon
Eddy Duchin 03:31 Amazon
12 Skinnay Ennis 02:35 Amazon
13 Russ Morgan / Russ Morgan & His Orchestra 03:00 Amazon
14 Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra 02:58 Amazon
15 Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra 02:59 Amazon
16 Shep Fields & His Orchestra 01:40 Amazon
17 Benny Goodman & His Orchestra 03:29 Amazon
18 Jimmie Lunceford & His Orchestra 02:45 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick