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Harry Goldson Big Band: Swing Swing Swing

On this follow-up to last year’s Harry Goldson Plays the Big Band Sessions, an impressive entry by the then 68-year-old former investment banker turned professional clarinetist, Goldson offers an even more ambitious foray into the world of swing era pop music. The emphasis here, however, is placed less on swing, per se, as it is on flawlessly played dance music. In short, what was considered the height of classiness in the 1940s-a melodic solo horn backed by tasteful brass and reed punctuations and underscored by lush, swooping string section caresses-here substitutes for the raw, uninhibited drive that gave the swing era its name in the first place. It’s not that Goldson doesn’t know the difference between what Benny, Duke, and Count were doing, and what Dorsey, Shaw, and James were about when they started featuring strings. It’s just that he seems to be aiming at a more conservative audience.

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