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Lunceford Special by Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra

The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra was one of the most popular of the Swing Era big bands, yet they seem to be somewhat less remembered than the bands of Goodman, Basie, Ellington, Dorsey and Miller. Perhaps it was the fact that leader Lunceford, unlike the aforementioned, was primarily a charismatic showman than a musician, the band did not produce a star soloist (except for saxman Willie Smith and arranger Sy Oliver) on the level of a Lester Young or a Harry James or a truly great singer (Dorsey had Sinatra; Basie, Jimmy Rushing) Or maybe they were a band whose main goal was to merely ENTERTAIN. Whatever - in the 1930s his outfit was both enormously popular with audiences and admired by musicians and critics. (Glenn Miller, in fact, said Lunceford’s crew was HIS favorite of the big bands.)

In 1939, Lunceford made the switch from Decca to Columbia, remaining ‘til 1940, from whence these recordings came. His band was a perfect mixture of the sweet ‘n’ sentimental (a la Miller - dig "Mandy, Make Up Your Mind" or "Ain’t She Sweet"), inventive arrangements that drew on the strengths of his soloists (a la Ellington - hear "The Lonesome Road"), manically driven swing that’d rival most punk-rock bands ("White Heat") and cornball stuff that nonetheless maintained a high jazz content ("Well Alright" -and lotsa people say rock & roll lyrics are dumb, jeeez). This set - with its generous 22 tracks and crisp digital remastered sound - will make the day of swing fanatics of all ages. (Perfect for holiday gift-giving, even, as it's almost That Time.)

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra
  • CD Title: Lunceford Special
  • Genre: Big Band / Swing
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Record Label: Columbia/Legacy
  • Rating: Four Stars
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