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Album Review

Forming his first band just as World War II came to a close (after two decades of section experience in England's most popular orchestras), Ted Heath eased battle-weary Brits into the post-war era with his vision of smart, happy-go-lucky swing — well-played and usually energetic, able to reference the bands he came up with (like Jack Hylton and Ambrose), but also capable of impressive modernism. Living Era's continuing commitment to swing brought listeners another fabulous volume with Listen to My Music, which compiles 27 sides from the first seven years of Ted Heath & His Music. "Listen to My Music," the band's theme song, obviously makes the cut here, as do early dance hits "Opus 1" and "Bakerloo Non-Stop." Heath's was a versatile band, as well; they introduce hints of modernism into their splendid six-part rendition of Fats Waller's London Suite of 1939, and turn in one of the smoothest versions of "Harlem Nocturne," that famously English meditation on an uptown evening. Though Heath recorded much of value during the '50s and beyond, the '40s sides compiled on Listen to My Music make it his best available compilation.


Born: 30 March 1900 in London, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '10s, '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

Ted Heath was one of the most famous big-band leaders in Great Britain of the 1950s. His bands played modernized swing music that was always danceable but occasionally had worthwhile solos played in the tradition. Heath started out playing tenor horn before he switched to trombone when he was 14. He spent a period playing as a street musician and then was discovered by Jack Hylton, who hired him for his band. Heath had long stints as a sideman with a variety of top dance bands, including ensembles...
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Listen to My Music, Ted Heath
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