Swing & Jazz
Hot Numbers From Classic M-G-M,
Warner Bros., and RKO Films
the caste of record collector geeks, Rhino must occupy the top
position, somewhere above your friend who makes the best mixed
tapes, and well above the used-record store clerk who knows more
about the Dave Clark Five than he does about his own family. They
can all point you in the direction of music you didn't know you
needed and may not have discovered on your own. But what sets
Rhino apart is that they don't discriminate: the good, the bad,
and the guilty pleasures, Rhino catalogues decades of great tunes.
From early R&B to disco, from old school rap to punk in any
of its proto/post incarnations, Rhino delivers.
Hollywood Swing & Jazz (Rhino Movie Music/Turner Classic Movies
Music) Rhino has once again hit it out of the park. This two-disc
set chronicles great swing and jazz music that appeared in commercially
released Hollywood films, both features and shorts, from 1934
through the mid-'60s. Since the music is presented in roughly
chronological order, the entire set plays almost as a testament
to the early evolution of 20th Century jazz.
one is the more fascinating, representing the era when jazz was
the pop music of the day. We get the lively, danceable sounds of
big bands, performed by such greats as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington,
Dorothy Dandridge, and Louis Armstrong. There's a smokin' version
of "One O'clock Jump" by Jimmy Dorsey, and a Bill "Bojangles"
Robinson dance number that's priceless. Listeners are also treated
to unused versions and outtakes, including the complete Duke Ellington
version of "All God's Chillin' Got Rhythm" from A Day
at the Races.
By disc two, we're in the '50s and '60s, when rock 'n' roll supplanted
jazz as the music kids were digging and we move more into be-bop
and the lush arrangements voiced by crooners. Although the Hollywood
cheese factor starts to run high, the second disc is redeemed by
a wonderful outtake from The Strip of Louis Armstrong doing "Ain't
Misbehavin'." (However, much of its running time is padded
out with Andre Previn's score from The Subterraneans).
The liner notes by Will Friedwald are complete and instructive,
though one might question why he all but sidesteps the troubling
racial issues that were in evidence in the early days of the film
industry, replete with shuckin' and jivin' and on-screen segregation.
But the music is the thing, and it's hard to fault Rhino for getting
it only 98 percent perfect.