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CD REVIEW: Harry James & His Orchestra, Featuring Cathy Chemi Ė 32nd Anniversary Night
By Ben Ohmart - 08/15/2001 - 10:51 AM EDT

Artist: Harry James & His Orchestra
Album: Featuring Cathy Chemi - 32nd Anniversary Night
CD Review: 30 years ago, in 1971, Harry James first came to Clearwater, FL (where the Clearwater Jazz Holiday is now THE thing to do every October), bringing his huge horned orchestra and vocalist Cathy Chemi. It took a while, but now, freshly produced from the master tapes, comes a chronicle of the entire evening of that historic event. Swinginí time, missed notes, bitchiní drum and trumpet solos and all!

It takes 2 cds to make it happen. Hereís the complete title list:

1. Theme
2. Donít Be That Way
3. Tuxedo Junction
4. Shiny Stockings
5. Watch What Happens
6. Embraceable You
7. Take The A Train
8. Gigi
9. Iím Beginning To See The Light
10. Summertime
11. Sleepy London
12. Moten Swing
13. Opus

1. Corner Pocket
2. Traces
3. Jersey Bounce
4. Cottontail
5. Donít Get Around Much Anymore
6. Ultra
7. Drum Feature With Sonny Payne
8. Malaguena Salerosa
9. Tweet Tweet
10. Danny Boy
11. Medley (I Had The Craziest Dream; You Made Me Love You; Itís Been A Long, Long Time; I Donít Want To Walk Without You; Iíve Heard That Song Before)
12. Two Oíclock Jump
13. Acknowledgements
14. Big Ending

Jazz is the most timeless of genres. You canít put a date on the reckless energy of ĎDrum Feature With Sonny Payneí and if you wait long enough for styles to come back or Really catch on, youíll see just why the stand out Latin track ĎMalaguena Salerosaí is so incredible, flawless and why the big band sound will never die. That much sound spectacle and sortilege? No.

And luckily, with expert Ronald Hitchcock behind the production side, the recording is just as sharp and clear as it was in the minds of all those sitting in the audience that night. The quality is up there with the best Ellington live albums. Most jazz is played on stage, not recorded in the studio. When you can catch it, realistically, without tricks, when you can produce that magic, itís like catching a firefly. Sparkling.

A joy to hear and have in the hand. Itís not the first old master to resurface on the Hitchcock Media label. Letís hope itís far from the last.

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