During the two years of its existence, the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band (the greatest orchestra he ever led) performed and recorded frequently, although most of the band's sessions have been difficult to find ever since, as their work was confined to V-Discs and other armed services-related venues. The group was filled with talented jazz soloists (including trumpeters Bobby Nichols and Bernie Privin, clarinetist Peanuts Hucko, and pianist Mel Powell), had fine singers in Ray McKinley, Johnny Desmond, and the Crew Chiefs, and even featured an occasional 21-piece string section. This CD has many of the best performances by the huge band, including "St. Louis Blues March," "Tail-End Charlie," "Anvil Chorus," "Everybody Loves My Baby," and "It Must Be Jelly," and at the time of its release it could be highly recommended to swing fans and jazz historians. In the two decades since, it has been supplanted to some degree by more generously programmed compilations (some from BMG and also from other companies, taking advantage of the out-of-copyright status of the actual recordings) with fuller and cleaner sound based on newer digital transfers utilizing superior technology. But absent the plunge into BMG's complete Army Air Force Band set -- which is not a bad or unhealthy plunge to make -- this is still a great place to start discovering this long-overlooked side of Miller's music.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow