Glenn Miller´s G.I.´s – In Paris 1945 (2008)

GlennMillerFrontCover1Luck sometimes manifests itself in the most unexpected places at the most extraordinary times. This is the most unusual body of recordings ever to come out of the orbit of Glenn Miller — uniquely, real small-group style jazz by members of his band without any traces of the “sweet” band influence of their parent group. That said, none of the music here, or this combination of musicians, likely would have happened if Miller had not died when he did. Following his disappearance over the English Channel in December of 1944, the Army Air Force Band that he’d organized was sent over to France under the temporary command of a very unpopular lieutenant, who reacted to criticism of him in a letter by one disaffected member of the band by demoting the author and two colleagues; the demotion, in turn, led to a financial crunch for the men involved, who cut these sides at a series of recording sessions at a club in Paris, all to earn a little extra money and make up for the loss of pay accompanying the demotions.

That was how saxman Peanuts Hucko, pianist Mel Powell, trumpet player Bernie Priven, bassist Joe Schulman, and drummer Ray McKinley came to record these sides with Django Reinhardt on guitar in the winter and spring of 1945. And what sides; from the hot opening rendition of “How High the Moon,” featuring a killer trumpet solo by Priven, through the, well, stomping version of “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” to the elegant “I Must Have That Man,” on which bucko’s clarinet recalls Benny Goodman’s sound, there’s just a lot of superb playing to admire here in a multitude of sounds, even crossing into Dixieland territory on “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone,” and Hucko’s solo on “S’Wonderful” is almost worth the price of admission by itself. And there’s more Mel Powell-featured material here than in the whole rest of his catalog from the 1940s combined, capped by his four sublimely beautiful solo numbers from one afternoon’s sessions. Django Reinhardt, who only played on one day’s sessions, gets his licks in as well, particularly on “If Dreams Come True.” The final four numbers, credited to the Ray McKinley Trio, feature Hucko, Powell, and McKinley. The fidelity is excellent and the notes are extraordinarily detailed and enlightening. (by Bruce Eder)


Peanuts Hucko (clarinet, saxophone)
Carmen Mastren (guitar)
Ray McKinley (drums)
Mel Powell (piano)
Bernie Privin (trumpet)
Django Reinhardt (guitar)
Joe Shulman (bass)

01. How High The Moon (Hamilton/Lewis) 2.25
02. If Dreams Come True (Goodman/Mills//Sampson) 2,39
03. Hallelujah! (Grey/Robin/Youmans) 2,58
04. Stompin’ At The Savoy (Goodman/Razaf/Sampson/Webb) 2.49
05 I Must Have That Man! (Fields/McHugh) 2.57
06, Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone Side (Clare/Stept)m 2.55
07. ‘S Wonderful (Gershwin) 2.39
08. Someday, Sweetheart (B.Spikes/J.Spikes) 3.06
09 Blue Skies (Berlin) 2.40
10. Red Light (Powell) 2.44
11. You’re Driving Me Crazy (Donaldson) 2.41
12. You’re Driving Me Crazy (Donaldson) 2.41
13. On The Sunny Side Of The Street (Fields/McHugh) 2.58
14 Hommage à Fats Waller (Powell) 2.34
15. Hommage à Debussy (Powell) 3.08
16. For Miss Black (Poor Miss Black) (Powell) 2.15
17. Don’t Blame Me (Fields/McHugh) 2.51
18 Pennies From Heaven (Burke/Johnston) 2.34
19. One, Two, Button Your Shoe (Burke/Johnston) Glenn Miller 2.34
20. At Sundown (Donaldson/Whiting) 2.19
21 At Sundown (Donaldson/Whiting) 2.24
22. Stealin’ Smack’s Apples (Stealin’ Apples) (Razaf/Waller) 2.31
23. Sugar (Alexander/Mitchell/Pinkard) 2.55
24. After You’ve Gone (Creamer/Layton) 2.41
25. Shoemaker’s Apron (Hucko) 2.39
26. China Boy (Boutelje/Winfree) 2.40

Django Rheinhardt