Glenn Miller - Sunset Serenade Live November 29, 1941

Glenn Miller - Sunset Serenade Live November 29, 1941
Release Date:
December 24, 1997
Big Band, Sweet Bands, Swing
Sunset Serenade Live November 29, 1941
Recording Date:
November 29, 1941

The eeriest moment on this wonderful CD comes early on when Glenn Miller steps up to the microphone to speak and one realizes that, jeez, Jimmy Stewart (in The Glenn Miller Story) really did sound a lot like him. But it's a nice kind of eerie, and the rest is pure gold -- all of the major big bands of the period were almost hyper-professional and proficient, on levels that exceeded perhaps any orchestra in the world this side of the Vienna Philharmonic, but one can fully appreciate Miller's exacting standards on broadcasts such as this; every nuance is spot-on perfect, yet there is still the excitement of a live performance and the ambience of an audience's very vocal presence between numbers. And one can appreciate in this setting even better than on the records why Miller was so imposing a musical presence even among jazz musicians who didn't necessarily respect the music he made -- the Miller band's renditions of "Georgia on My Mind" or "Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto" may only touch upon jazz in the most oblique, peripheral way, but there's enough of a jazz presence there, and enough elsewhere in this performance at a high enough level, so that even his harshest critics among the big-band jazz and even the bebop set had to acknowledge him. And numbers like "Dreamsville, Ohio," "Chattanooga Choo Choo," and "The Nickel Serenade," extended here to well over four minutes (much longer than the official studio releases), have a kick and an immediacy that's totally beguiling when heard today; and jazz enthusiasts may have to hear this just for the prominence of Bobby Hackett on cornet for many of the songs. The singers also acquit themselves well, Ray Eberle, Marion Hutton, and Tex Beneke all sounding exceptionally good, so much so that even those listeners who prefer to overlook the singers may be impressed. The sound is flawless -- why BMG/RCA never reached out to grab this and the other performances from the Cafe Rouge at the Hotel Pennsylvania is beyond this listener's understanding, but the essential point is that this is an essential part of any Miller collection, or any big-band swing collection, and it's done with class, including excellent notes. There's also an interesting biographical element about Miller behind these broadcasts and performances, which were aimed at supporting the USO -- this was in November of 1941, weeks (a little more than one week, actually) before the United States was in the war, and Miller was already throwing himself with both feet into supporting the morale of the nation's servicemen.

Introduction/Flagwaver / Jerry GrayGlenn Miller feat: The Glenn Miller Orchestra4:28
This Is No Laughing Matter / Martin Block / Al Frisch / Van LomanGlenn Miller feat: The Glenn Miller Orchestra3:24
I'm Not Much on Looks / Bobby WorthGlenn Miller feat: The Glenn Miller Orchestra2:56
Dreamsville, Ohio / Judy Freeland / Craig Lee / Al RinkerGlenn Miller feat: The Glenn Miller Orchestra3:13
The Nickle SerenadeGlenn Miller feat: The Glenn Miller Orchestra3:58
Station BreakGlenn Miller1:40
Georgia on My Mind / Hoagy Carmichael / Stuart GorrellGlenn Miller feat: The Glenn Miller Orchestra2:40
Tchaikowsky's Piano Concerto / Pyotr Il'yich TchaikovskyGlenn Miller feat: The Glenn Miller Orchestra3:25
Elmer's Tune / Elmer Albrecht / Sammy Gallop / Dick JurgensGlenn Miller3:32
Uso TalkGlenn Miller1:31
Chattanooga Choo Choo / Mack Gordon / Harry WarrenGlenn Miller feat: The Glenn Miller Orchestra4:29
Papa Niccolini / Anne Edwards / Don GeorgeGlenn Miller feat: The Glenn Miller Orchestra4:32
Keep 'Em Flying / Jerry GrayGlenn Miller feat: The Glenn Miller Orchestra4:24