November 13, 2007
In 2007, Dutton Vocalion, an historical reissue label specializing in vintage British dance band music, dilated its zoom lens to take on the works of society bandleader Paul Whiteman. This transatlantic gesture demonstrated impeccable logic as Whiteman was the archetypal purveyor of carefully arranged, sweetly jazz-inflected pop music during the 1920s and '30s. His influence upon the English music industry was considerable, and can be detected in the early recordings of Ambrose, Bert Firman, Jack Hylton, and Harry Roy. Producer Michael J. Dutton is well known for his skillful remastering of music initially stored in the grooves of ancient gramophone records. This charming anthology contains 24 selections recorded between December 28, 1925 and October 15, 1938. These are arranged in Dutton's characteristic almost-but-not-exactly chronological sequence. There are hardly any instrumentals. Among some 12 vocalists heard on this collection, the most famous names are Vaughn DeLeath and Bing Crosby. As for instrumental jazz cameos, you'll want to listen for Bix Beiderbecke, Frankie Trumbauer, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Joe Venuti, and Eddie Lang. Whiteman recorded Richard Whiting's attractive melody "The Japanese Sandman" acoustically in 1920, again using the electrical process in 1928, and yet again in October 1938 using an ensemble billed as his "Swinging Strings". This latter recording is the one placed at the close of the first volume in what promises to be a generously endowed series of Whiteman compilations from Dutton Vocalion. Bravo!
arwulf arwulf, Rovi