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 The Best Big Band In The Land

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the_librarian
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PostSubject: The Best Big Band In The Land   Sat Jan 12, 2008 1:02 am

Let'sface it kids, today's bands can't hold a candle to the classic swing arrangements of the forties because, I think, they couldn't afford 'em today. With that in mind, who's your favorite big band? Don't like 'em....shout it out and let the fun begin.

king

(with apologies to the Harry James thread...didn't mean to steal the idea...too much )Cool
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BygoneKnits
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Big Band In The Land   Sat Jan 12, 2008 2:58 am

Hmmm. I'd have to say Miller (I especially like the Army Air Force Band) and Goodman. (Sorry, Mimi, I prefer Goodman to Shaw) Smile

And, yep, aside from the new pseudo-Big Bands, this supposed "Glenn Miller Orchestra" that's still running around, is a strange thing. They say they use the original arrangements and charts, but I don't believe it...they just sound SO different. (And not so hot.) Just listen to that Christmas CD they put out a few years ago -- you'd never know they had anything to do with Miller. And it only gets worse as more and more personnel die off. I remember when I was young seeing them at Wolf Trap in VA (this would have been in the late '70s), and and I recall, Tex Beneke and the Modernaires performed -- of course, they were good. But now...alas.
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Ali
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Big Band In The Land   Sat Jan 12, 2008 7:06 am

Variety is the spice of life. I refuse to be narrowed down to just one!
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Mimi
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Big Band In The Land   Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:26 am

I still may have to go with Harry and his Music Makers...though I do love Miller and Goodman.

Yes, I like Artie, but wow! What a PITA!! That much arrogance in one man? Amazing! But, boy, Stardust...ahhh.

But Harry is still my No. 1.
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Big Band In The Land   Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:57 pm

Yeah, they were really all serious PITAs. I much prefer to think of them as they all were portrayed in all those '50s biopics. It depresses me so much to think about favorite musicians/actors/singers/songwriters (especially those of the periods we're all especially keen on) being mean and rotten. How could people bring so much joy to so many people, and be such amazing talents, but then be such incredibly awful rats in real life? Arugh. I don't want to dwell on it, it's so upsetting. Sad
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the_librarian
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Big Band In The Land   Sat Jan 12, 2008 1:07 pm

That's what always upset me about Bing. Who was telling the truth? Is the truth somewhere in between?

Like Hope....I was reading a book once, When the Stars Went to War and some of the insights it portrayed.....sheesh...

I still don't get how lovable Bing could be this nasty father who beat his kids. I just don't see how, but then again, there's always the private side I guess. I'd prefer to think of him as just being Bing.
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Big Band In The Land   Sat Jan 12, 2008 2:54 pm

Me too. And I'm not entirely convinced that he was such a rotten father either, actually. By all accounts, he was a very good father to his second family (although isn't that Katherine woman a wack job! Well, at least pretty scary looking...just stay far, far away from the plastic surgeon and hair dye, lady, and act your age!) I gather the boys from his first marriage blame Bing for Dixie's death, but I understand that she had a bad drinking problem anyway, and I'm sure it was very difficult for her to cope with the fact that when she married Bing, she was the "star," but he eclipsed her fame so very quickly, and to such an enormous degree. (perfectly understandable -- that would take a toll on anyone) But the boys all seemed to have difficulties of their own, mentally. I know at least one -- maybe two -- committed suicide at an extremely young age. Then Gary tried to go into the business, and I understand Bing gave him all sorts of help, but he simply didn't make it, as is wont to happen, and afterwards, he pushed the whole "Mommy Dearest" thing. I think the fourth son leads a quiet life in real estate or banking, or something like that. And, of course, we must remember that Bing was of a generation raised by Victorians. Different things were expected of both parents and children. Parents were stern disciplinarians. So, are his kids just griping that he was strict, and didn't spoil them rotten, like some other Hollywood kids? Quite possibly. Who knows.

And speaking of Mommie Dearest, I've never really understood that, either. I'm sure Joan was probably very particular -- after all, again, her generation was simply very demanding of everyone, and it was expected that they work very hard for all her life -- which she did, even after becoming a major star. And if everything was so rotten, why have none of her other children ever said anything? Still, it's just Cristina griping and griping up. Whatever your problem is, time to let it go!

And, Bette Davis' B.D. clearly was just riding the Mommy Dearest wave with her book -- it's quite obvious from interviews, even after she wrote her book that Bette adored her (anyone seen the Dick Cavett interview with her TCM ran awhile ago?)...And Bette couldn't have been all bad -- she adopted the girl who was mentally disabled, and it certainly takes a very special sort of person to take that on. I recently discovered that B.D. has become some sort of wacky evangelical sort, and is the preacher of some little flock in Charlottesville, of all places! I wish I'd know when I was at UVa -- I would have gone, just to see what she was like -- I bet a loon and a half.

This is why I avoid bios and books like that "Hollywood Babylon" rubbish like the plague. a) I just don't want to know, and b) these things tend to be extremely iffy with their information. Just let me watch my movies and listen to my music, and I'm happy. Which is the way it should be.
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Big Band In The Land   Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:02 pm

Dragging this thread back to its original topic, I hold Bobby Darin's backing band in the highest regard. When listening to Bobby Darin tracks, I'm always struck by just how tight his band was. I think his band could out-blow most of the big bands that were still recording in the '60s.

By the way, I think the '60s were the height of recording technology. The recordings are very clear and clean, but still have the live in studio energy that has been lost in today's multi-track sterile recordings. I love Basie's Atomic Band recordings from this era and Louis Prima put out some great recordings, too. Plus, it seems that the '60s also was the era of the wildest album art. Just thinking about this makes me need to go and dig through my vinyl now...
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