Pianist/arranger Fred Rich led a first-class hot dance band during the second half of the 1920s and the first half of the '30s. He employed some of the most technically skilled white jazz players around in those segregated days, including clarinetist Benny Goodman, altoist/clarinetist Jimmy Dorsey, trombonist Tommy Dorsey, trumpeter Leo McConville, violinist Joe Venuti and guitarist Eddie Lang, among others. The overall result was melodic jazz-flavored dance music that often contained short bursts of all-out jazz. This initial CD from the TOM label has 22 strong examples of Rich's dance music; even the vocals (by Smith Ballew, Paul Small, possibly Dick Robertson and a Rhythm Boys-inspired group called the Rollickers) are good for the period. Highlights of the set include "Wishing and Waiting for Love," "Revolutionary Rhythm," "You're Lucky to Me," two versions of "I Got Rhythm," "Cheerful Little Earful" and "I'm Tickled Pink with a Blue-Eyed Baby." Some of the lyrics of the songs might be a bit insipid, but the music, which is easily recommended to vintage jazz collectors, is consistently enjoyable.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow