After a career as a sideman and arranger during the swing era, Richard Maltby began leading his own band in the 1950s, retaining his swing sensibility. He enjoyed some success on RCA Victor's "X" and Vik labels in the mid-'50s, then in 1958 moved to Columbia Records, where he recorded two albums, Swingin' Down the Lane and Hello, Young Lovers, both released in 1959, and a few singles. The Columbia sojourn was not commercially fruitful, and he moved on to Roulette Records in 1960. Collectables here compiles the entire Columbia period on a single, discount-priced disc, presenting the two LPs, the six sides that made up the three non-LP singles, and one previously unreleased track, a version of "Ain't She Sweet." The albums, recorded in the fall of 1958 and the spring of 1959, run together well. Maltby addresses a series of interwar standards with a lightly swinging style, parceling out the melodies between the reeds and horns, and making special use of a xylophone either to double one of the sections or take a portion of the melody itself. His sound is unfailing pleasant, but, despite the superior fidelity, it's often difficult to believe one is listening to recordings of the late '50s, since the style is so consistent with the swing era. The singles find Maltby trying different approaches in search of a hit, either employing a chorus, giving his interpretation of the doo wop classic "At the Hop," or trying to jump on the cha cha bandwagon. The tracks illustrate how different a bandleader's albums and singles could be in the 1950s.
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