BOOK REVIEW: The Big Band Reader


"The Big Band Reader" is a well-researched compendium of the songs "favored by swing era orchestras."

This 310 page book cowritten by William E. Studwell and Mark Baldin covers more than 140 songs from over 70 bands. Studwell and Baldin include "lesser known" names like the Jean Goldkette Orchestra, John Scott Trotter, the Mal Hallett Orchestra and John Kirby.

Although each song synopsis is only about 1 page to 2 pages in length, it may be too dense for straight cover to cover reading. However as a selective read, musical reference or scholarly research tool, "The Big Band Reader" is indispensible.

Each song review includes in-depth information on its writer, lyricist, soloists, and information on its themes and historical significance. The book does not skimp on dates or references to back up its information.

The book is broken up into chapters, "The Better-Known Swing Bands", "The Sweet Bands", "Some Unheralded Bands" and the appendices. Each chapter is alphabetized by first name to make finding groups easier, and a comprehensive index that also lists song titles is included.

"The Better-Known Swing Bands" chapter includes such swing staples as Count Basie's "One O' Clock Jump", Glenn Miller's "In The Mood", Charlie Barnet's "Skyliner", Jimmie Lunceford's "Rhythm Is Our Business" and Gene Krupa's "Let Me Off Uptown".

"The Sweet Band" chapter covers artists like Horace Heidt, Eddy Duchin, Hal Kemp and Lawrence Welk.

"Some Unheralded Bands" covers earliers groups like Fletcher Henderson, Bennie Moten, and Don Redman.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Big Band Reader
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..news archive



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