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The Greatest Jazz Band

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Album Review

This budget LP has ten selections taken from radio transcriptions cut by Jimmie Lunceford's Orchestra. They were not "the greatest jazz band," but Lunceford did lead one of the top orchestras of the period. Most of the main Lunceford stars were still in the big band at the time, including trombonist Trummy Young, altoist Willie Smith and tenorman Joe Thomas, but the performances are overall only average. Dan Grissom's rather uninteresting ballad vocals are on six of the ten numbers; there is less than half an hour of music on the album, as six other numbers from the same dates are left off; even the instrumentals (which include "Battle Axe," "Annie Laurie" and "State and Tioga Stomp") do not add anything to the Lunceford legacy. A lesser effort.


Born: 06 June 1902 in Fulton, MS

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s

The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra has always been a bit difficult to evaluate. Contemporary observers rated Lunceford's big band at the top with Duke Ellington and Count Basie but, when judging the music solely on their records (and not taking into account their visual show, appearance, and showmanship), Lunceford's ensemble has to be placed on the second tier. His orchestra lacked any really classic soloists (altoist Willie Smith and trombonist Trummy Young came the closest), and a large portion of...
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The Greatest Jazz Band, Jimmie Lunceford
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