The danceable tempos and alluring sounds presented in this wide ranging compilation come from a time when people craved the excitement afforded by the live presence of a big band.
“Being in the business myself, I know what to listen for, know the processes, the wrinkles and the tricks of the trade and have yet to be disappointed with any Past Perfect publications.” Nigel Bewley
The music presented in this wide ranging compilation comes from a more innocent age than ours – a time in the middle years of the Twentieth Century when social dancing was a world-wide phenomenon and people craved the excitement afforded by the live presence of a big band. Everyone wanted toe-tapping music so that they could ‘cut a rug’ on the dance floor and a host of fine touring orchestras fed this apparently insatiable demand, fueling a fashion which took several decades to decline and fall.
Whether it was for the high-school ‘prom’ (so much loved by Hollywood film-makers) or just for that end-of-the-week night out, dancers in America, and for that matter, in England, too, knew exactly what was needed. They looked for danceable tempos, alluring sounds, personable sidemen, smart presentation and pleasing vocal interjections from a girl singer (described by Down Beat as a ‘chirp’ in the vernacular of the day). Those in the know would also be looking for jazz value, watching out for star instrumentalists and responding to swinging numbers by the best composers and arrangers. Magazines like ‘Down Beat’ and Metronome kept their readers posted on the movements of top musicians, flagging up the working rosters and tours undertaken by the big bands, and previewing their many appearances in films and on record.