Glen Gray

Solo Spotlight

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After breaking up his Casa Loma Orchestra in 1950, for a time the former swing bandleader Glen Gray retired. However, within a few years he came up with the idea of "bringing back the big bands," at least in the studios. He put together all-star orchestras that recreated the recordings, and sometimes even the solos, of a wide variety of formerly popular swing bands, and had strong commercial success during the second half of the 1950s. The LP Solo Spotlight was a change of pace in 1959; the arrangements are new as Gray has his impressive band perform a dozen songs by the then-recently deceased Victor Young. Nearly every selection is a feature for a specific musician, so one gets a chance to hear altoist Skeets Herfurt; Murray McEachern on separate pieces for his trombone and alto; trumpeter Shorty Sherock; drummer Nick Fatool; trumpeter Manny Klein; pianist Ray Sherman; trombonist Joe Howard, and clarinetist Gus Bivona being showcased. In addition, three numbers feature the ensembles. Although nothing too innovative or surprising occurs, the music will please swing fans.

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