Straddling the hermetic divide between hot and sweet, the original Casa Loma Orchestra was one of the great dance bands of the 1930s. Partially named for a hotel in Toronto (the Casa Blanca), this group had roots in Detroit where most of the players initially worked together as members of the Jean Goldkette orchestra. Cardinal participants were saxophonists Glen Gray and Ray Eberle, trombonist Pee Wee Hunt and banjoist/guitarist Gene Gifford, the man responsible for hot material like "Maniac's Ball," "The Dance of the Lame Duck," "White Jazz," "Black Jazz," "Blue Jazz" and the rousing "Casa Loma Stomp" as well as the Casa Loma's best known and most often requested number, the lovely and ethereal "Smoke Rings." This superb sampler presents 22 historic performances representing some of the very best work this band ever did in front of the recording microphone. Guest vocalists are Lee Wiley and Louis Armstrong.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf