Various Artists

Rare V-Discs, Vol. 2: The Big Bands

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The second of three CDs in the Austrian RST label's valuable V-Disc series actually starts out a bit weak but gets stronger as it goes. There are three numbers by the Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra (two from 1945 and for no real reason the studio version of the common "Uptown Blues"), three novelties from Louis Prima during his big band days and two songs from the declining Cab Calloway Orchestra. Some dance music is provided by "17 Skymen of the 718th," Jess Stacy and singer Lee Wiley perform "It's Only a Paper Moon" and there are songs from Buddy Rich's 1947 Orchestra (the record starts out in very speeded-up fashion before it is corrected) and Stan Kenton. Best are three swing selections from Sam Donahue's Navy Band and a trio of performances from Jimmy Dorsey including an early solo by trumpeter Red Rodney on a 1944 version of "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning." This is an interesting set but not essential; get Vol. 1 first.

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