Various Artists

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

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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.

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