A veteran of the Bob Crosby and Artie Shaw orchestras, trumpeter Billy Butterfield is heard leading his own well-oiled ensemble on this Hep sampler of fine big band recordings cut in 1946 and 1947. Butterfield's first band came together immediately after the Second World War and performed regularly at Eddie Condon's club in New York. The big band heard on this compilation represents the next step in his stylistic development; it's about as modern sounding as Butterfield would ever get. The song choices are beautifully rooted in the mingled traditions of jazz and mid-20th century pop music. "Moten Swing" is a tip of the hat to Kansas City bandleader Bennie Moten; "Prelude to a Kiss" and "Sophisticated Lady" are fundamental romantic standards from the Duke Ellington book, while handsome ballads like "My Heart Stood Still," "What Is There to Say?" "Night and Day" and "Embraceable You" are beautifully polished performances that place Butterfield in the same league with Bobby Hackett. On the lively "Pandora, Close That Box," Butterfield wails in a manner that instantly brings to mind the soaring trumpet of Roy Eldridge.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf