Gene Krupa: Maybe Baby

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These rare recordings from January 1945 capture the Krupa Orchestra in two programmes from a series of live broadcasts for the Armed Forces Radio Service. Recorded on fragile, extended-play 16-inch discs at 78 r.p.m., the transcriptions have somehow survived, and sound quality has been attentively improved.

Much of the selected repertoire represents the popular commercial romantic ballads of the day, reassuring dance-band music doubtless out to satisfy the nostalgia for home felt by soldiers still serving in war-torn Europe. There are several smooth vocals from Buddy Stewart and some vocal group backing from the G Notes.

Krupa was still a very big name from the now fading swing era, and some tracks are performed in hotter swing style, with big band jazz riffs and showcase solos. The two trio tracks – “Number Ten Ritchie Drive” and “The Man I Love”- with Krupa, Charlie Ventura and Teddy Napoleon are disappointingly over-busy and poorly arranged.

Krupa doesn’t come across on these recordings as the charismatic, spectacular drumming star which he undoubtedly was, and only gets to stretch out a little in solo on the closing and liveliest track, “It’s Up To You”. Of interest chiefly to big band collectors.

Discography
(1) Introduction and Poinciana; Linger Awhile; Summertime; Wish You Were Waiting for Me; Number Ten Ritchie Drive; I’ll Remember Suzanne; I Walked In; The Big Do; Leave Us Leap and Close; (2) The Old Refrain; I Dream of You; Maybe Baby; The Man I Love; My Heart Sings; Poinciana; I Walked In; It’s Up to You; Sign Off (58.33)
Don Fagerquist, Bill Conrad, Joe Triscari, Tony Russo (t); Leon Cox, Tommy Pederson, Bill Culley (tb); Murray Wlliams (as, cl); Francis Antonelli (as); Charlie Ventura, Andy Pino (ts); Stuart Olsen (bar); “Remo” Ray Biondi, Jacob Shulman, Victor Pariente, Ted Blume, Jerome Reisler (vn); George Grossman, Paul Powell (vla); Julius Ehremvorth (clo); Teddy Napoleon(p); Ed Yance (g); Clyde Newcomb (b); Gene Krupa (d); Lillian Lane, Buddy Stewart (v); G Noters Vocal Group – Lillian Lane, Jerry Duane, Dave Lambert, Buddy Stewart; Eddie Finckle,”Remo” Ray Biondi (arr). (1) Palladium, Hollywood, C.A., 16 January 1945. (2) as (1) 23 January 1945.
Sounds of Yesteryear DSOY 2112