Past Perfect, recent release CD

PPCD78140Elegance

this page first published by John Wright, 12 April 2003
last update 2 February 2012 vintage@r2ok.co.uk

Another special feature CD: Past Perfect PPCD78140



Elegance - A Musical Journey Through the 30s and 40s
(to order, click the image)

title list :-

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REVIEW

This CD offers a varied selection of music styles from the 1930's and 40's, singers, entertainers and supreme intrumentalists.
The earliest titles, from 1934-1936, are performed by popular stars from Britain (Noel Coward) and USA (Ruth Etting) and a delightful Rockin' Chair performed by the excellent American female singing group The Swingtette, brought to UK by bandleader Jack Hylton.
The later 1930's are represented by celebrated pianists Billy Mayerl, Carroll Gibbons and Leslie 'Hutch' Hutchinson. Mayerl plays one of his own compositions, Gibbons is accompanied by his Boyfriends (musicians from the Savoy Orpheans band) while Hutch entertains us beautifully by also singing in his performance of a Cole Porter Medley. From 1938 we also hear a very fine performance from singer Sam Browne with the band led by Billy Ternent, who was at that time also working as an arranger with Jack Hylton.
Into the 1940's, and wartime, we are entertained by some singing entertainers who had made their fame in the 1920's and 1930's, including Gertrude Lawrence, Jessie Mathews, Elizabeth Welch, Turner Layton, Jack Buchanan, Fred Astaire and Noel Coward. The class and elegant style of these very fine performances must have delighted the record-buying and radio-listening public during those dark years.
Our entertainment continues with a well-chosen selection of the supreme virtuosic instrumental performers of the time, with the duo of guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grapelli, saxophonist Freddy Gardner, and the Les Paul Trio.
The CD also includes tracks by the Glenn Miller band and two great hits by Nat King Cole, solo and also with his trio.
For me there are two particularly interesting titles featuring Christine Norden. I am delighted to hear her singing I'm Not In Love and When You Smile, what a pity she did not pursue a fuller career as a singer. The music is delightful, written and directed by Ben Frankel whose work in popular music goes back to the days of Fred Elizalde and Henry Hall's BBC orchestra.
Looking back over this CD I'm of the opinion that maybe the music featured was just to varied, and some tracks sit uncomfortably between older styles and performances. On repeated playing I find myself skipping the Les Paul, Nat King Cole and Glenn Miller tracks, not because I dislike their music, just that I feel they would be best heard another time and I don't want to be distracted while enjoying Ruth Etting, Jessie Matthews, Carroll Gibbons etc.
While I may keep skipping some tracks there are particular tracks that get repeated again and again - the enchanting voice of Christine Norden and the supremely professional performance of Hutch's Cole Porter Medley. We are treated to a full 8 minutes of the brilliant Hutch, which must come from both sides of a 12 inch 78. Hutch's performance is certainly elegance on disc.
The sound quality of every track shows again that Past Perfect will only release CD's of the best quality; congratulations to Ted Kendall and the team.

John Wright

Past Perfect

digitalised re-issues of dance bands, swing bands, jazz and entertainers
available by Tel: 01869 325052, Fax: 01869 325072, clarity@pastperfect.com
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