Answering a scattered clamor or two, this column, after three weeks of idle theorizing, tries to get down to cases with a look at some of the record crop of the past month or two. The music stores, of course, are teeming with customers this year; and though the federal tithe may be cutting into the demand since the first of the month, the companies were within the past few weeks so hard pressed that their new releases had to be delayed while back orders were filled.
In fact, for the last year the companies have been putting out so much miscellaneous chaff every week that it is difficult to wade through the frothy odds and ends to find anything of more than trifling musical interest. Even banking on past reputations one is likely to collide with Bob Crosby's excellent band providing background music for a paltry vocal trio. Or one finds Benny Goodman, the synonym for jazz to perhaps too many these days, experimenting to find something new, in dance music, as his publicity announces, and coming up with two of the most profoundly horrisonous (an obsolete word which must be taken out of mothballs for the occasion) vocalists of our generation.
Fortunately, however, there are some old dependable still around. The reissues continue to bloom amid the weeds, with the Louis Armstrong Earl Hines album perhaps the best of a satisfying list including a couple of old Teddy Wilsons and Decca's third Gems of Jazz set, which may have escaped someone's notice over the summer. Victor has been producing a Duke Ellington coupling every week or two. 'Twas said Ben Webster's Kansas City tenor sax wouldn't fit in with the highly sophisticated Ellington arrangements, but Duke is building backgrounds for Ben to improvise against, and on "Just a-Settin' and a-Rockin'." Ben takes off to his heart's, and our car's content.
In the more commercial vein, there are a few items also: Woody Herman and Bing Crosby collaborate nicely, while Tommy Dorsey performs some easy-riding Sy Oliver arrangements.
If anyone has an idle $1.10 lying fallow in his pocket, he might try one of the new Signature green labelled discs by Bud Jacobson's Rhythm Kings. They're completely improvised, of course, and Bud Freeman has some good moments as of yore. By next week there may be two new Commodores by Chu Berry and four or five other performers of like stature, but until then this just about exhausts the current crop.