The Spitfire Band

The Big Band Swing Things

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This is a partial reissue of a disc the Canadian-based Spitfire Band did for Columbia several years ago called In Flight; it's a partial reissue because not all the tunes from the original session have been included, thus providing a meager 40 minutes of music. It's a bit misleading not to include this information on the back cover of the album so that prospective purchasers are aware they are in a sense buying a used car. The good news is that Alanna Records has remastered the album, as it has done for other Spitfire Band releases. As a result, the sound is wonderfully clear and crisp, just right for big band music. And the arrangements are all familiar. Charlie Barnet is honored with "Skyliner," Xavier Cugat with "Brazil," and Tommy Dorsey with

"Marie," although the trombone solo here is not nearly as smooth as Dorsey's. There is also a vocal solo, with the band helping out, as they did when Jack Leonard sang the original. And the train still pulls out of the station like it did on Glenn Miller's "Chattanooga Choo Choo," which was number one on the pop charts in 1941. But there's no Tex Beneke and Modernaires' vocal like there was way back then. The Laurie Bell Singers do a credible job on "If I Were a Bell." Not all cuts are from the 1940s big band era. The Count Basie Orchestra's 1966 arrangement of "Days of Wine and Roses" is given a reworking.

The Spitfire Band is made up of excellent musicians, several of whom are also part of Rob McConnell's Boss Brass aggregation. This is a great album to play in the car while on a trip and you need something to keep the adrenaline flowing so you don't fall asleep (or to drown out the kids).

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