Jimmie Lunceford & His Orchestra

Lunceford Special

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With 22 songs from 1939-40 -- a time at which Lunceford was at his peak -- this would have to rate near the top of the list of single-disc Lunceford anthologies. It's infectious swing jazz, and if time doesn't remember the artist nearly as well as Ellington, Basie, and Goodman, it's nonetheless true that most listeners will find this just about as enjoyable as the recordings those giants made during the same era. About a third of these feature various vocalists (usually by bandmembers Trummy Young, Joe Thomas, and Willie Smith), the remainder being devoted to instrumentals. Although some of these are pop standards along the lines of "Ain't She Sweet," some of the material is more adventurous, such as "White Heat," which has some frenzied solo tradeoffs. And the vocals are by no means all frivolous, some of those numbers exhibiting an ebullient, witty jump bounce.