Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra 1936
Last Saturday's program (3/12) on the Sound of Swing was a sampling of the big bands recorded in the years just before U.S. involvement in World War Two – 1938 through 1941.
It's hard to say I have a favorite band from the period, there's so many good ones. If I had to pick one, though, it would have to be the orchestra of Jimmie Lunceford. A show band as tight as it could be, with virtually no top ranked soloists in any of the sections. Lunceford had arrangers, though, including the great Sy Oliver. Oliver left Lunceford and became one of the first blacks to have a prominent position in what had up to that time been an all-white band. Tommy Dorsey hired him as an arranger, and after Oliver gave the band a makeover he moved on to become music director of Decca Records.
Take a look at this 1936 video of Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra, and you'll see the appeal!