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The Continental

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Album Review

This 1995 Hindsight CD has a previously unreleased set of radio transcriptions by the 1935 Casa Loma Orchestra. At the time, the band's key members included clarinetist Clarence Hutchenrider, trumpeters Sonny Dunham and Grady Watts and Bill Rausch, and Pee Wee Hunt on trombones. Although Gene Gifford had recently departed, all 16 arrangements are his, including reworkings of such numbers as "Who's Sorry Now," "Should I," "Blue Room" and "Chinatown, My Chinatown." There are only two vocals on the set (one apiece by Kenny Sargent and Pee Wee Hunt) so the emphasis is very much on the jazz side of this important, if underrated, early swing band. A good sampling of the Casa Loma's music from the period even if the CD (at just 43 minutes) is rather brief.


Born: 07 June 1906 in Roanoke, IL

Genre: Jazz

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

Looked at today, Glen Gray seems a strange, almost otherworldly musical figure -- the photographs of a slim, elegant-looking gentleman with a mustache, in white tie and black dinner jacket, baton held awkwardly in his right hand, evoke another time and place, not only from our own age but also from any setting and image that we normally associate with jazz. He wasn't much of a bandleader, barely able to look like he was keeping time; and as a musician -- specifically a reedman -- he was adequate,...
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