Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Harry James And His Orchestra - 1936-1938 (Tom - Tom 36) (Private Press)

Harry James is a very talented trumpeter from the Big Band era. He was the sideman of the legendary Benny Goodman until he wanted to start his own band and went on with it from there. He split from Goodman 2 years into the band and was openly supported by Goodman himself. There was unjust criticism in the beginning saying that he was not as good as Goodman, but that is quite a little off the mark since comparing someone to the biggest name of that era is not really fair anyway.

Harry James was a good band leader and a respected musician, that's the point. He was also the first big band to open his arms to Frank Sinatra even though Harry James made an unsuccessful try at changing his name to Frankie Satin. Harry James orchestra also enjoyed the services of Buddy Rich on drums later on as well.

The vinyl I have bought around a month ago is probably a private press under the supposed label Tom. It says limited edition for collectors, the front side is quite simple with the written sheet glued to the cover and the back cover is totally empty. I don't even mention the green transparent vinyl itself. However, this is a very important recording since it captures the very first three recording sessions of Harry James and His Orchestra as well as some tracks which are yet to be released on vinyl or cd. The tracks are dated between 1936-1938 and have a superb sound quality to be honest. The record itself does not have any single dating, but based on the cover, the board used etc, my logical guess would be mid 1960s.

I have no idea if this record can be found again. I stumbled by it from a guy who sells stuff he buys from Amoeba and the price I bought is ridiculous (Luckily), but if you can find it, don't even hesitate. It is a lovely record from the Swing era which naturally I have missed totally due to age. Those good ol' times when people used to dance with Jazz.

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