Like Art Hodes and Irving Berlin, Jan Savitt was a Russian immigrant who flourished in the musical environment of North America during the first half of the 20th century. Savitt's dance band was one of the very best on the scene in the late '30s. Decades after his premature death at the age of 35 in 1948, several excellent collections appeared, allowing for a reappraisal of his accomplishments. Jasmine's Shuffle in Style is by far the finest Jan Savitt album in his entire posthumous discography. More than half of the tracks are instrumental, and the vocals (by Carlotta Dale, Allan DeWitt, and George "Bon Bon" Tunnell) are evenly distributed throughout. This guarantees a pleasurable listening experience and proves once and for all that Savitt's band was one formidable swing machine. The timeline on this set begins in July 1938 (nobody seems to want to reissue his 1937 recordings) and extends into February 1942. You'll want to listen for tenor saxophonist Georgie Auld, and for Eddie Durham's arrangement on "Blues in the Groove." While both Vintage Music Productions and Flyright have tapped Savitt's legacy with good results, Jasmine's Shuffle in Style should be regarded as the crème de la crème.
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