Record of the Day: Various Artists, "Wild, Cool and Swingin'"

Record of the Day: Various Artists, “Wild, Cool and Swingin'”

Various Artists
Wild, Cool and Swingin' (Cd Capitol 724382937222)

Fortunately, the summer is in full swing, even if it is still early to think about beaches and umbrellas; Anyway,
in case you have decided to leave by car for a picnic, the album to feed to your stereo is undoubtedly this, a sparkling compilation of songs taken from the Capitol label archive and dedicated to the swinging period of the fifties.

Remastered with spectacular sound by producer Brad Benedict, irresistible songs by artists who were familiar with both the concert halls and the casinos of Las Vegas are paraded on the catwalk: Sammy Davis Jr., Wayne Newton, Bobby Darin, Louis Prima, Peggy Lee, Lou Rawls and Nat King Cole are the most famous names among those present but there is no shortage of valuable performers who have now disappeared in limbo such as Sam Butera, Vic Damone and Keely Smith, linked to the Cold War era and the glamorous atmosphere with high alcohol content that surrounded the appearances of the so-called Rat Pack led by figures such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

If you think that people like Michael Bublè or Madeleine Peyroux have even remotely anything to do with the world of jazz, here's your chance to think again and throw the CDs of today's plastic crooners out the window during the trip. Accompanied by big bands full of energy like whirlwinds, these seasoned entertainers deliver tons of vocal class without batting an eyelid or breaking a drop of sweat, over scores arranged by names like Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Benny Carter and Jimmie Haskell.

We move from well-known pieces such as “Fever”, “Hello Dolly!”, “More” and “Volare” to romantic pages such as “Sunday in New York” and “You'd Be So Nice to Come Home” without forgetting the absurd humor of “Closer to the Bone”, where Louis Prima compares his girlfriend to a ham, and the authentically vintage character of the theme of “Danke Schön”.

Listening to this CD is like watching the original version of “Ocean's Eleven” or a slapstick comedy by Jerry Lewis; you have fun even if the product bears the manufacturing date clearly, and you are willing to leave aside the kitsch frame that sometimes accompanies everything, instead thanking the professionalism and energy with which the artists commit themselves to contributing to the success of a beautiful day.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.