September 11, 2003
Collectors' Choice Music

Album Review

While there are a few live sets available documenting the mid-1950s reunion between big band brothers Tommy Dorsey (trombone) and Jimmy Dorsey (alto sax), few if any contain such brilliant sonics, or as varied a roster of collective talent. Although the Dorsey Brothers gained even more notoriety on their own, the pair initially began working together in the studio as far back as 1928. Mainly owing to financial challenges (or the lack thereof), the duo patched things up by 1953 and were once again performing together. Live In '55 at the Holiday Ballroom (2003) captures the siblings during one of their extended engagements in Chicago, Illinois on -- what was at the time -- state-of-the-art audio gear, including a Crown Broadcaster open-reel tape machine using Telefunken U-47, and Telede microphones. This type of professional equipment was normally reserved for use by the major recording facilities, making these sides all the more enticing. As neither artist was releasing new material per se, the track list is a reflection of both typical standards as well as melodies made popular by respective Dorsey renditions. Among the primary considerations are "Moten Swing," "Opus One," an epic medley centering on "Honeysuckle Rose," and the Charlie Shavers' (trumpet) workout on Parts One and Two of "Puddle Wumps." The vocal contributions are also worthy of mention, with Lynn Roberts, Bill Raymond, Bruce Snyder, and the irrepressible Pearl Bailey, all respectively sitting in throughout. Several numbers, such as the spirited syncopation of "Jazz Mambo," the wailing R&B swing of "Smack Dab in the Middle," or the full-force onslaught of "King Size," are nothing short of perfect vehicles for soloists Shavers and Jimmy Dorsey. Despite the realistic sound and equally inspired playing, one major flaw of this package is the incomplete -- and often abrupt -- beginnings and conclusions to many of the numbers. That said, what is here is tremendous for anyone interested in hearing these legends in full flight.
Lindsay Planer, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Just as Though You Were Here
  2. Moten Swing
  3. I Think of You
  4. There Are Such Things
  5. Flagler Drive
  6. Something's Got to Give
  7. Swinging in September
  8. Jazz Mambo
  9. All of You
  10. Smack Dab in the Middle
  11. Let's Fall in Love
  12. Ruby
  13. The Man in the Raincoat
  14. Hot Dog
  15. King Size
  16. Marie Elena
  17. I Should Care
  18. You Gotta Have Heart
  19. Dream
  20. In a Little Spanish Town
  21. Deep Purple
  22. Sweet Sue
  23. Swanee River
  24. Without a Song
  25. April in Paris
  26. Honeysuckle Rose/Table Money
  27. Opus #1
  28. More Than You Know
  29. Pertidia
  30. Puddle Wump Parts 1 & 2
  31. Ending