Saturday, 14 October 2017

Tommy Dorsey – Embraceable You

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  • Published on Friday, 29 November 2013 11:46
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Sweet Georgia Brown - 2:30
Blue Skies - 3:16
TD On a Tree - 3:12
Tico Tico -
2:50
It Feels So Good -
2:51
Midriff -
3:20
Jump Time -
3:52
Embraceable You -
3:05
Hawaiian War Chant -
3:19
Sweet Potato -
3:03
Song of India -
3:05
Blues No More -
2:54

 

Tommy Dorsey – Embraceable You

Tommy Dorsey was one of the most popular and successful bandleaders of the Swing Era. The mellow-toned trombonist was the younger brother of saxophonist Jimmy Dorsey and they co-led a band between 1927 and 1935, when their always tense relationship provoked Tommy to leave to form his own orchestra. He ended up surpassing his brother, achieving a number of Top Ten hits. He was a shrewd judge of talent, hiring a number of top arrangers, including Sy Oliver and Bill Finnegan, while his band launched the career of a young vocalist named Frank Sinatra. Although he broke up his orchestra in early 1946, he remained in the public eye with his small group Clambake Seven recordings, several film appearances, including the largely fictional The Fabulous Dorseys, plus a television series, stage show, which was broadcast between 1954 and 1956. Jimmy Dorsey disbanded his group and joined his brother in 1953. They worked together until Tommy’s sudden death from choking in his sleep in 1956, he was only 51. Jimmy continued leading the orchestra until his death the following year, while a ghost band has continued in some form since then.

This collection of airchecks likely date from the 1940s and early 1950s. Although the specific personnel and recording dates have been lost for these performances, many of them can be deduced. The breezy “Sweet Georgia Brown” features the leader, trumpeter Charlie Shavers and tenor saxophonist Sam Donahue. “Blue Skies” was already becoming a standard. Dorsey’s mellow trombone is first up, followed by Stuart Foster’s vocal which is backed by The Sentimentalists and Shavers. The Latin number “Tico Tico” has long been a favorite, this slower, chugging version is circa 1945-1946, with solos by Shavers, Al Klink on tenor sax and drummer Buddy Rich. “It Feels So Good” is a swinging original by Shavers, with muted horns answered by the reeds. The focus in on the ensembles until well into the piece, when the pianist (likely Paul Smith or Lou Levy) plays a half-chorus. This obscurity was only briefly in Dorsey’s book. “Jump Time,” written by arranger Sy Oliver, is purely for fun, a pre-war dance tune featuring tenor axophonist Babe Russin and Dorsey. “Embraceable You” by the Gershwins has also been a long time favorite of jazz musicians. Sy Oliver’s elegant chart showcases Shavers as its only soloist. “Hawaiian War Chant” was briefly popular during the 1940s but quickly faded from view. From a circa 1944-45 broadcast, Russin, Shavers and clarinetist Johnny Mince all take part in the mock revelry. “Song of India” was penned by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and turned into a signature song for Dorsey, as it remained in his repertoire for nearly two decades. Oliver also wrote “Blues No More,” a swinging Kansas City-like dance number.

 
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