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ghost of miles

Sam Donahue

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I've heard good things about the big bands that Sam Donahue led throughout the 1940s and decided to bite on a couple of the Heps out under his name (specifically the Navy band titles--isn't this Artie Shaw's Navy band, taken over by Donahue after Shaw left the service?). Any opinions around the Organissimo joint concerning SD?

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I mostly know of him through his early 60s work w/Stan Kenton, which is very nice, and pretty distinctive. The guy gets props from me!

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I just taped a Big Bands program this a.m. about Donahue's Navy Band (formerly Artie Shaw's--Donahue took it over and revamped the book after Artie got a medical discharge in late 1943). It'll air this Friday night and hopefully be archived at some point.

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I've heard good things about the big bands that Sam Donahue led throughout the 1940s and decided to bite on a couple of the Heps out under his name (specifically the Navy band titles--isn't this Artie Shaw's Navy band, taken over by Donahue after Shaw left the service?).  Any opinions around the Organissimo joint concerning SD?

I've always had a weak spot for Sam Donahue's band - not least for the confusion on LP's/Cs's/articles about the title of a fine swinger recorded several times by this band only:

I mean "LSD Party", "Last Party, "Lost Party" or - what I assume to be correct -"LST Party"; correct since Donahue's NAVY guys knew about landing vessels.

Incidentally, a lot of terrific info about the Shaw-to-become-Donahue-band was published some time ago in the IAJRC-journal in a series of articles on Dave Tough. Well worth checking !!!

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I'll look into that, Jaffa--thanks for the tip! Yes, the title was "LST Party," and it was a reference to the large tank-carrying vessel in which the Donahue band crossed the Atlantic in early '44. The show aired last Friday night; hopefully we will have it archived soon, and I'll up this thread. I'm going to do a later show on the Donahue civilian orchestra, but man, that navy band was smokin'!

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I'm going to do a later show on the Donahue civilian orchestra, but man, that navy band was smokin'!

Ghost, I fully agree about Donahue's Navy band being superior to his civilian efforts. Of these latter, I consider his small-band date for the tiny "Encore"-label specially noteworthy. (I love the smoking solos by Willie Smith there !) Most of Donahue's "Capitols" are rather pale compared to his Navy-stuff.

However, the most stunning thing Donahue EVER made is - in my opinion - the very first track he ever recorded as leader, on Christmas day 1940... "It Count A Lot" features none other than Basie himself in a most happy mood giving the new band a swinging lift ! I cherish my copy of that swell "Okeh"-78 !

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Sam Donahue sneaking a bit of The Lockjaw Code:

 

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On 3.6.2005 at 8:44 PM, Jaffa said:

Ghost, I fully agree about Donahue's Navy band being superior to his civilian efforts. Of these latter, I consider his small-band date for the tiny "Encore"-label specially noteworthy. (I love the smoking solos by Willie Smith there !) Most of Donahue's "Capitols" are rather pale compared to his Navy-stuff.

 

Getting back to an earlier point of the discussion (which apparently I never saw at the time - a long 15-16 years ago): I have the Donahue Hep LPs ( LP 2, 5, 25) with the Navy band plus capitol T-626 with various 1946-47 studio recordings. I had owned and loved the Heps for quite a while when I dug up the Capitol LP (and was smitten by that one too, admittedly in a somehow different way). Whenever listening to these albums I've always been wondering how these Capitols came about. To me many of them sounded very much like civilian reinterpretations of the Navy band charts, and whether you prefer one or the other depends on what you use them for IMO. The Capitols do sound a bit more straightforward and "cleaned up" (or "condensed" if you will) and the Navy recordings are looser, but the Capitols still are great for dancers (with enough stamina ;)) whereas the Navy band recordings might be even more challenging for their looseness - or even less suitable actually. "Pale" therefore is all rather relative, depending one's points of reference, and sometimes it pays to try to listen to recordings such as these with ears "in tune" with the ears of the listeners of the time (and not so much - at least not always - with the ears of latter-day listeners weaned on all sorts of later jazz). So ... It makes me wonder which commercially released recordings exactly the discussion was all about.

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