Thursday, June 09, 2005

Strings and brass and (a healthy dose of) woodwinds

The standard stereotype of easy-listening music is as follows: strings, strings, and more strings. Nobody relayed that cliche to Percy Faith, luckily--strong brass, proud strings, and plenty of woodwinds were the rule on his records. (Proud strings?) His arrangements were equal-opportunity charts. No instrument or instrumentalist needed to feel left out. (Instruments have feelings, you know. At least, as we've observed, strings do.)

This intro is getting sillier than the title of the second selection, Jimmy Dorsey's Oodles of Noodles--which, by the way, is a very sophisticated novelty number, not to mention quite a workout for the players (who, fortunately, were guided by Faith). Listen for the bold and brassy closing to I Got Rhythm (George Gershwin's exercise in displaced Charleston rhythms) and the Day the Earth Stood Still-style intro to Deep Purple (the old #IV-I gimmick). Faith's Purple is almost the best version out there, save for not enough symphonic-jazz feel in the jaunty middle section. (I wish I could think of a good "purple" cliche. Something about Barney? No.)

Enjoy these terrific vintage lounge acts (er, tracks) from 1949! I Got Rhythm, Percy Faith, 1949. Oddles of Noodles (Dorsey), P. Faith, 1949. Deep Purple, Percy Faith, 1949.



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