In the late 1920s and early 1930s, millions of listeners in Great Britain tuned in every Saturday night around 10.30pm for live ninety-minute broadcasts from the May Fair Hotel in London. Those Saturday night broadcasts by Ambrose and his Orchestra are now the stuff of legend, but we can still enjoy the splendid recordings made by that brilliant combination.
This CD is made up from a small selection of Ambrose's HMV records of 1928-1932 vintage. The standard of musicianship is unbeatable, the arrangements are first rate, and the resulting music is stylish, sophisticated and perfectly executed. Some of my favourite Ambrose recordings are here such as "Pardon Me, Pretty Baby"; a popular song of 1931. The orchestration is so far ahead of contemporary versions of this song and slowly builds, even through Sam Browne's vocal, and develops beautifully. The rhythm section is compelling and the solo work is spot on. It is a masterpiece!
If you can find any better versions of "I'm Gonna Get You", "Say It Isn't So", and "I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan", I'd love to hear them. Sam Browne takes the lion share of the vocals but the voices of Joe Crossman, Anona Winn, Eddie Grossbart and the Three Ginx can be heard too.
The collection ends with an announcement by Sam Browne, in the manner he would have ended Ambrose's broadcasts all those years ago, and a suitable closing number.
The notes are nicely illustrated although the full band picture is of a later Ambrose Orchestra! The remastering is truly excellent adding to the listening pleasure. Don't hesitate to snap up a copy.