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Music: New Pop Records, Aug. 11, 1952

3 minute read

Big bands used to take their personality from the improvisations of the front men —Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, et al.—and the orchestrations had only to fit into the leader’s style. Nowadays, most bands get their special character from the arranger’s musical personality, and the musicians just sit there and play the notes he writes. The most recent and one of the most original of the arrangers’ bands, launched last week by Victor: the combination of Ed Sauter, 37, who wrote such items as Benny Rides Again and Superman for Goodman, and Bill Finegan, 35, who was on the staff of the Glenn Miller band for its whole four-year life.

All of the first four Sauter-Finegan recordings have an enlarged percussion section (xylophone, bells, kettledrums, etc.). But each side has a definite mood of its own: Rain sizzles like a summer shower on a slate roof; Azure-Te hits a melancholy note with a low, liquid flute sound (played on a recorder); Stop! Sit Down! Relax!

Think! is a lusty, swinging tune; Doodletown Fifers mixes pixy tootlings with brassy blasts. Some of it may sound contrived, but the overall effect is alert, bright fun.

Other new records:

Hooray for Captain Spaulding (Groucho Marx; Decca LP). Six zany songs by the team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, best known for such ditties as Three Little Words. Groucho’s audible leer, set off by a barbershop quintet, works over Omaha, Nebraska, Dr. Hackenbush and the immortal Show Me a Rose (“Or leave me alone”).

New Sounds from Sweden, Vol. I (Leonard Feather’s Swingin’ Swedes; Prestige LP). Some remarkably up-to-date jazz imported from Scandinavia by Jazz Expert Feather. Rain on the Roof and Moonlight Saving Time are rather stiff, but Swedish Butterfly and September Serenade are stylish bits of rhythm.

The Benny Goodman Trio (Columbia LP). The King of Swing gets together for the first time in 13 years with Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa to help out his old arranger, ailing Fletcher Henderson. The ensemble sounds surprisingly spry, playing such old favorites as Body and Soul, After You’ve Gone, Honeysuckle Rose.

Wish You Were Here (Fran Warren; M-G-M). Sultry Songstress Warren sighs and moans her way through the title song of Broadway’s newest musical.

School of Love (“Friday” Hughes; M-G-M). Artless amatory technique, described in relaxed but confident tones by Singer Hughes. A relief from the agonized hollering of most current male singers.

Adios (Gisele MacKenzie; Capitol). A fresh voice, an old rumba and a jingling, clattering Afro-Cuban accompaniment add up to a first-rate new love song.

Bim Bam Baby (Frank Sinatra; Columbia). Crooner Sinatra, who has been in need of a hit record for years, turns up in a socko mood that might turn the trick, “dim clam cleanup the rim ram room,” shouts Frankie, ” ’cause your bim bam baby’s comin’ home tonight.”

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