Generation Swing



ver since the guitar took over popular music, in the mid-fifties, true believers have been predicting the return of big-band swing eveiy few months. This hasn’t happened, but for anvone who came of age in the thirties and forties, big-band swing never went away. Big Bands in lli-l i: Volume /—Let’s Dance (Capitol) specifically addresses market, but anyone else with open ears and restless feet ought to give a listen. Part of the problem in translating the big-band experience to other generations is that the big bands had their hits on 78 rpm sin-

gies, a decided I v lo-fi technology. Although the world is hardlv lacking in big-hand anthologies these days, most of them just don’t sound that good. A two-CD set including forty-six songs divided about equally between fast jitterbugs and medium foxtrots, with an occasional slow dance, Big Bands concentrates on recordings made in the fifties and sixties, when technology had finallv caught up to Benny Coodtnan, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie. Eager to expand their audiences, and still at the peak of their musical w powers, thev re-recorded their hits [[ for the L.P format, and those hits have been digit alls remastered for CD. You hear all the detail. It’s hard to imagine even a punk rocker addicted to snarling guitars who could clem the power ol this stuff. And if you’re throwing a party for people in their sixties and up, you’ll have them stompin’ at die Savoy and jumpin’ at the Woodside, even if they don’t get around much anymore. —C.M.Y,

Bob Blumenthal is a jazz critic for The Boston Globe and l I) Review.

Charles M. ) tiling reviews papular music fin Playboy, Musician, and other publications.