After a series of albums on RCA Victor's "X" and Vik subsidiaries, Richard Maltby switches to Columbia Records for Swingin' Down the Lane. The title, taken from the 1923 Isham Jones hit that leads off the collection, signals the album's jaunty tone, on which a big band works its way through danceable renditions of standards by Irving Berlin, Frank Loesser, George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers & Hart, and Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, among others. Maltby, who came up as an arranger, balances the parts between the horns and reeds, even introducing interesting percussion parts in places to keep things lively. In particular, a xylophone often snakes between the wood and the brass, and bells even turn up here and there. It may be the late '50s, but Maltby's heart is still with the creamy Glenn Miller sound of the early '40s, and in his charts the swing era lives on.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann