April 20, 8 A.M.--Rx$&!*@$ (This reviewer's reaction on reading printer's error which appeared in place of his usual column.)
April 20, 8:10 A.M.--"Pretty good and very funny."
April 20, 8:20 A.M.--However, not too sincere or relaxed."
One tune that every band has to know, and that almost every band has to have a "special" arrangement of is "Stardust." Since the palmy days of the late 20's when it was written, this song has defied any attempt to kill its popularity. Carmen Lombardo has whispered it (the acid test), Paul Whiteman concertized it and Benny Goodman swung it--but it still rates as the most requested standard number in any dance band's repertoire. In this day and age when the very best and worst songs are past numbers inside of three months, this is an amazing record.
When Hoagy Carmichael wrote the tune way back in 1927, he certainly had no idea that every band in the country would not only carry an arrangement of it, but re do that arrangement every year or so. Nor did he suspect that it would put a band in top favor because if its recorded rendition (Isham Jones with his 1929 Brunswick recording.)
As a matter of fact the story goes that when Hoagy thought up the tune, he didn't put it down on paper; therefore when a Richmond theatre band did the first recording of "Stardust" (a rare and famous Gennett record), Hoagy had to teach the men their parts by whistling them!
A tremendous controversy has been going on for years among record collectors as to whether the famous Bix Beiderbecke, trumpet player extraordinary and kingpin of jazz history, played on this record. Since a very Bixian horn is to be heard on the record and since Bix was a good friend of Carmichael's, it was thought he was in the band. This has lately been conclusively disproved and Gennett 6311 can now claim fame only as being the first recording of "Stardust" not as a repository for one of Bix's superlative solos.
It's Interesting to note that the tune on the back of the record, "One Evening in Havana" with its name changed to "One Morning in May," became one of Hoagy's most famous hits, rating a place with "Lazy Bones" and "Shoe Shine Boy" in the Decca album of his songs.
To make our story complete, Glenn Miller has just made a record of "Stardust." Seems very fitting that the biggest thing in bandom at the present moment should make a disc of what has proven to be America's most consistently popular ballad.
Unfortunately, Glenn's record doesn't fit as well as it might. While beautifully arranged, with good sax and trumpet solos, and obviously painstaking rehearsal, the rendition is completely dead and lifeless. The reason is quite simple: Glenn Miler has an eight man brass section and a five man sax section. To provide life for a band that size would require a rhythm section of geniuses--and Glenn's rhythm men are just competent musicians, no more.
Glenn himself admitted in a magazine article some weeks ago that this was the biggest fault with his band, and that the only way that he could get any life in to his style was to play at ferociously fast tempos. And, as he says, this is like getting "high" to be happy--the effect doesn't last long.
For some comparison, listen to Tommy Dorsey's smooth work on his recording, or Jimmy Lunceford's Deccording with its beautiful brass work behind the vocal. Then listen to Louis Armstrong's (Vocalion) disc for what most critics consider to be the greatest solo work on "Stardust," and Benny Goodman's (Victor) for the top orchestral rendition. Unusual versions are Art Tatum's fast but flashy pianistics (Decca), the binging of the one and only Crosby (Brunswick), and movie star Anita Louise's harp pluckings for Royale