Raymond Scott

On the Swinging Side [LP]

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Raymond Scott is best known for the many novelty tunes (particularly "Powerhouse," which featured two contrasting themes adapted by Carl Stalling for use in Looney Tunes cartoon soundtracks) he recorded with his quintet, but this compilation LP consists exclusively of big-band sessions made between 1940 and 1945, primarily for Columbia. As a result, the music may seem a little conservative and even dull to those weaned on his quirky well-known compositions. This low-budget reissue fails to provide much of an effort to identify the musicians or the composers, though most of the songs are likely written by Scott. One small group piece present is "At an Arabian House Party," but it is rather tame compared to the quintet version. Some collectors may want to look for this LP because of the inclusion of Scott's "When Cootie Left the Duke," a piece written to commemorate the unexpected departure of trumpeter Cootie Williams from Duke Ellington's orchestra to join Benny Goodman in 1940. It features a softly growled, muted trumpet over a rather bland background, so its title ends up being more significant than the actual music. This is quaint but hardly essential music for fans of big bands.

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