Paul Specht

Retro-Specht (1925-1931)

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Violinist Paul Specht started leading bands in 1916, and throughout the 1920s and first half of the '30s, his orchestra was popular. Specht's ensemble performed and recorded regularly, being more of a dance band than a jazz ensemble. A small group taken out of his orchestra, the Georgians, was very jazz-oriented and featured the underrated trumpeter Frank Guarante as early as 1922. However the music on this CD is taken from a slightly later period. Reversing the trend of most other groups of the time, Specht's records of 1925-1928 are generally less interesting than his early Depression performances of 1929-1931. In fact, the numbers included here from the mid-'20s often are a bit corny, have unswinging phrasing and leave one waiting in vain for a hot solo after an insipid vocal. By 1929, the occasional hot solo was included and the ensembles swung a bit more, so the final dozen selections are of greatest interest, being fine hot dance music. Retro-Specht, although not essential, should interest 1920s dance band collectors.

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