Live at the Glen Island Casino 1939 Box set
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In the early years of the rapid rise of Glenn Millers Orchestra to become one of the biggest names in popular music at the end of the 50s and through to his legendary status as an icon of wartime inspiration on both sides of the Atlantic, Miller built his success through regular appearances on radio, and many of the broadcasts, such as the Chesterfield Shows, have been preserved on record for his many fans to enjoy.This series of programmes has been less readily available, appearing only in piecemeal form, as we hope that this 3-CD set will redress that situation and make available a fairly substantial selection of shows thirteen 30-minute or 15-minute broadcasts - in their complete original form. They are programmes broadcast on NBC from the Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle, New York, on the Long Island Sound (as the announcer tells us in every broadcast!). The first show is the opening of his season on 17th May 1939, and the set includes regular broadcasts through to August of that year. The context of the broadcasts is hugely significant, as it was during the summer of 1939 that the commercial fortunes of the Miller Orchestra took off in a major way, and the radio exposure no doubt played an important part in this. They also immediately pre-dated the outbreak of World War II in Europe, although war could probably not have been further from the minds of the dancers at Glen Island.We have chosen to keep all the introductions and theme tunes, in order to maintain the flavour and atmosphere of the broadcasts, which very much capture the style and context of the era. It includes one very interesting vocal contribution from a young Kay Starr, as well as features for his regular vocalists Marion Hutton, Ray Eberle and Tex Beneke. Several tunes are repeated during the shows, giving an opportunity to hear different versions and performances of tunes that had already, or subsequently, appeared as commercial recordings, as well as his versions of then current popular tunes. It is an essential acquisition for Glenn Miller fans, many of whom will not already have these shows in their collection.
Top Customer Reviews
Frank Dailey, owner of the Meadowbrook Ballroom "on the Newark - Pompton turnpike" in Cedar Grove, New Jersey booked the orchestra for four weeks commencing Tuesday 7th March 1939. The contract was extended, with the band closing at the Meadowbrook on Thursday 20th April 1939. The orchestra broadcast extensively from the Meadowbrook Ballroom. Concurrently with the Meadowbrook performances, the orchestra had several recording sessions for RCA Victor's Bluebird label, waxing 12 titles in April, including MOONLIGHT SERENADE on 4th April and LITTLE BROWN JUG on 10th April.
The Miller orchestra opened at Glen Island Casino on Wednesday 17th May 1939, closing there on Wednesday 23 August 1939.
This 3-CD set brings together 13 radio broadcasts from 1939, presented in chronological sequence. Most of these recordings have previously been issued on Avid, Magic, Jazz Hour and Vintage Jazz Clasics. Sound quality varies, but is never less than acceptable. There is a recording glitch during GUESS I'LL GO BACK HOME THIS SUMMER, and my copy of CD 1 ends with another glitch, which I suspect is a fault with the CD, rather than the original sources.
The cover says "a collection of complete unedited radio broadcasts." Strictly speaking, that's not the case, as a moment of silence has been inserted between some titles, and some applause has been edited out.Read more ›
The sound quality is perfectly acceptable although, of course, not of studio quality. All the music has been included on these three well filled discs but various bits of applause between numbers have been edited out. This is no great loss. The booklet notes are comprehensive, as are the discographical details. However there is one small error in that the closing date of the season is known and the information published in John Flower's bio-discography 'Moonlight Serenade'.
During this summer season the band was obviously enjoying itself. A rigorous rehearsal programme ensured the, sometimes complex, arranged passages were performed faultlessly. Beneke, Eberle, Hutton and a very young Kay Starr contribute enjoyable vocal interludes. The rhythm section, including the recently joined Maurice Purtill are never less than excellent. Some tunes are repeated but the programmes contain plenty of variety with 'jump' numbers alternating with ballads. A highlight is 'Dippermouth Blues' (a number originally recorded by the band for Brunswick in 1938) in which King Oliver's classic cornet solo is taken by Glenn on trombone.
A splendid issue which will give great pleasure to all lovers of big band music. Buy and enjoy.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1) These are CD-R's (and the print on the discs is really light) Neither of these things are that important but...
2) All broadcasts are chopped up with 2 seconds of silence between each track which ruins the effect of a live broadcast.
3) The pitch on some of these braodcasts are way off, thus making them sound strange or more bluntly, wrong.
4) The tray card has such small print that it's way too hard to read, unless you have a magnifying glass.
5) The mastering on some of these broadcasts aren't nearly as good as previously released versions.
The good news? Most of the summer of 1939 Glen Island Casino broadcast recordings are all together in one 3 disc set...
But it's not really worth it if you already own these from prior collections.