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Harry James - Hotel Astor Roof 1942

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Harry James had an auspicious year in 1942. He and the band were featured in Hollywood films and he had a highly ranked radio show, while all the time furiously pursuing Betty Grable. Tenor man Corky Corcoran had joined the band the previous October for what was to become a stay of more than 20 years. James may have hired Corcoran as much for his ability to play third base as his facility with the horn. Another album from the Jazz Unlimited imprint of Denmark's Storyville label, Hotel Astor Roof, 1942 makes available three previously unreleased radio shows aired from the Astor Hotel in New York City, a venue James was to return to many times over his long career. This was one of James' finest groups. In addition to Corcoran, Helen Forrest was on board as the girl singer. There were solid arrangements by James, Leroy Holmes, and Jack Mathias. During these engagements, James concentrated on playing music for dancing, enhanced by the strings he had added. This obligation was filled by such ballads as "Sleepy Lagoon" and "Manhattan Serenade." Nevertheless, James didn't limit the program to sentimental ballads. In fact, the up-tempo, killer-d****r material outnumbers the slow stuff. That he was still a jazz player at heart is borne out as the band goes to town on a rousing "Two O'Clock Jump." His reputation as a versatile player is substantiated with a soulful trumpet on "Memphis Blues," showing that he is equally effective in the lower register as he is in the stratosphere. Forrest gets the limelight on several tunes. Some of them are instantly forgettable like "My Beloved Is Rugged," one of the many songs generated by the Second World War. But her lovely rendition of George & Ira Gershwin's "But Not for Me," one of the album's highlights, provides compensation. Dick Haymes was still in the future, so the boy singer shoes were filled by sax player Johnny McAfee, and filled quite adequately. This CD provides more than an hour of music from one of the most popular and musically well-honed aggregations of the big-band era performing at its peak. Recommended.


Født: 15. marts 1916 i Albany, GA

Genre: Jazz

Aktive år: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Harry James was one of the most outstanding instrumentalists of the swing era, employing a bravura playing style that made his trumpet work instantly identifiable. He was also one of the most popular bandleaders of the first half of the 1940s, and he continued to lead his band until just before his death, 40 years later. James was the child of circus performers. His father, Everette Robert James, was the bandleader and trumpet player in the orchestra for the Mighty Haag Circus, and his mother, Maybelle...
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Harry James - Hotel Astor Roof 1942, Harry James
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