Greatest Hits [Curb]by Jimmy Dorsey
It's a sad commentary on the state of the major record labels -- and their attention to the jazz history that they own in their vaults -- that this 13-song budget CD was the only authorized Jimmy Dorsey collection on the market in 2007. Not that this is a bad collection for what it is -- in keeping with its title, the emphasis is on the pop side of Dorsey's output, but it's impossible to ignore the quality of the musicianship behind singers Bob Eberly and Helen O'Connell. It's just that 50 years after Dorsey's death, which occurred while he had one of the biggest singles of his career riding high on the charts, his legacy has come to nothing in the marketplace except for this CD and a bunch of unauthorized releases from Europe. This CD is actually a pretty fair place to start listening to the legendary bandleader's work, although one should probably jump to "Contrasts" to get a better idea of what Dorsey was really like as a musician -- that cut and "Long John Silver," which closes the CD, show off the boldest sides of his sound to be found here, with some hot playing on both sides and phenomenal ensemble work, and good sound, too. The other tracks sound all right, but too often there's the kind of surface noise -- obviously from a pre-tape source -- that indicates a quick and dirty analog-to-digital transfer. It's not unlistenable, and one might argue that this material -- which includes classic versions of "Green Eyes," "Tangerine," "Besame Mucho," "Brazil," and "Amapola" -- should be sought out by any legitimate means, but this is also the kind of sound quality that people stopped accepting on CD around 1990 or so. And at this price, one should be grateful that there's any kind of decent short bio (which there is), and not worry about a lack of release dates on the 13 tracks. But, oh, how one longs listening to this to see a really high-quality, heavily annotated double- or even triple-disc box on Jimmy Dorsey as was done on Tommy Dorsey at RCA/BMG back in 2005.
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