Let’s Dance/ Airmen of Note

August 8, 2012

 

  There is a misconception that Naxos is just a budget classical recording label that is foremost in the recording of obscure material. If you were looking for an obscure tone poem from Glazunov they likely had recorded it.  Were you also aware that they distribute material for the smaller relatively unknown labels? This is the case with this new release of big band standards by a group of men who call themselves The United States Air Force Airmen of Note formed in 1950 to carry on the tradition of Glenn Miller’s Army Air Force Band which was hardly what we think of when a marching and concert band is mentioned. We’re not talking Sousa here but a well rehearsed 17 piece swing band that sounds as well as the big bands of the 40’s. The recording engineer whoever he might be (confusing liner notes) knew exactly where to place the microphones to bring out the best sound. It was crisp and conveyed the feeling that they were playing for you right in your living room. You did not get that feeling of muddiness where you can hear the melody fine but there is no separation between the brass and the woodwinds and the percussion is over miked creating that pounding feeling that headaches are made of. The opening of “Satin Doll” is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. You can easily hear the piano, bass, and drums as three separate entities. The extended trombone solo was recorded in such a way that while Jeff Martin was featured the rest of the orchestra was quite distinct and a part of a well tuned machine. Included in the orchestra is a baritone sax as well as a bass trombone which definitely enhance the sound of the ensemble. I’m including the track “April in Paris” which will only you an idea of the type of sound that they offer. The lower bit rate does no justice to the sound quality.  airmen of note april in paris

Starting off the CD is a nice swing version of “Jeep Jockey Jump” (a Miller tune) and a style that will set the tone for the majority of the tracks. If your familiar with the original Mancini recording of “Dreamsville “ from his Peter Gunn album you’ll find that the brass harmony sounds exactly like Hank ! The arrangements will offer a number of alto and tenor sax solos as well as trumpet, trombone, clarinet, and drum. and most of the band members are given the opportunity to have their licks. Don’t look for anything or improvisational or special as the band takes from stock arrangements by Oliver, May,  Gray and others you’re familiar with but plays them with a nice bounce that will make you want to get out of your chair and dance.

Altissimo CD# isALT61652

Track Listing:

1…. Jeep Jockey Jump (2:07)

2…. Pennies from Heaven (2:43)

3…. Rockin in Rhythm (4:12)

4…. Shiny Stockings (5:12)

5…. One O’Clock Jump (2:57)

6…. Cherokee (2:55)

7…. Leap Frog (2:37)

8…. Let’s Dance (2:04)

9…. Swanee River (3:54)

10.. Don’t Be That Way (3:13)

11.. Sing, Sing, Sing (3:40)

12.. Moten Swing (5:03)

13.. Opus One (2:58)

14.. That Old Black Magic (2:48)

15.. April in Paris (3:49)

16.. All of Me (2:45)

17.. Lonely Street (3:12)

18.. Satin Doll (5:06)

19.. Fly Me To The Moon (2:36)

20.. Dreamsville (3:11)

Total Time is 68:19

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