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The Million Dollar Sound of the Worlds Most Precious Violins

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Album Review

It's not really apparent on The Million Dollar Sound of the World's Most Precious Violins whether Enoch Light's string section is full of Stradivarius instruments, but the bandleader does try to give his listeners their money's worth on this collection of orchestral treatments of pop standards of the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. His arrangements as usual are full of ear-catching effects, starting with the bongo drums on many tracks that give an exotic (if not exactly expensive) feel to the proceedings. Light tends to hand the melodies around the orchestra, bouncing them from the strings to the horns and reeds, and adding his own little themes here and there. When the group plays "I'll Be Seeing You," for instance, the massed saxophones provide a bed reminiscent of a Glenn Miller arrangement, with some of the strings picked pizzicato for percussion and flutes adding little note clusters like cascading water. What does any of that have to do with the sentimental tone of "I'll Be Seeing You"? Who cares? The lyrics aren't being sung, anyway. Similarly, Light gives "Temptation" a bolero drum pattern (for part of the track, that is), while the strings emphasize the melodrama, as if the music were intended as the soundtrack for a sword-and-sandal screen epic. All the gimmicks are there to engage the ear, and they do, even if they also give Light's music a novelty aspect.


Born: 18 August 1907 in Canton, OH

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Enoch Light was a popular bandleader of the '40s and '50s who is best known for his Persuasive Percussion and Provocative Percussion albums of the mid-'50s, which were some of the first albums to exploit the capabilities of stereo recording and the use of using 35mm film as a recording method instead of tape. During the '30s, he headed the Enoch Light and the Light Brigade big band. The Light Brigade primarily played in theaters and on the radio, although they also toured Europe. The band also managed...
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The Million Dollar Sound of the Worlds Most Precious Violins, Enoch Light
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