Same personnel, except Marion Hutton (vcl) returns, replacing Kay Starr.
RCA Victor Studios, New York – August 1, 1939, 1:30-4:30 PM
038170-1 In The Mood Bluebird 10416
038171-1 Wham (Re-Bop-Boom-Bam) (MH & the Band vcl, ED arr) Bluebird 10399
038172-1 An Angel in a Furnished Room (RE vcl) Bluebird 10383
038173-1 Twilight Interlude (RE vcl) Bluebird 10388
038174-1 I Want To Be Happy (ED arr) Bluebird 10416
038175-1 Farewell Blues (likely GM arr) Bluebird 10495
What more can be said 75 years later about IN THE MOOD? It’s still amazing to contemplate that a rather tattered little riff that had been kicking around for a decade should become THE classic anthem of The Swing Era.
That riff passed from Wingy Manone (TAR PAPER STOMP) to Fletcher Henderson, Don Redman (both titled HOT AND ANXIOUS) to Mills Blue Rhythm Band (THERE’S RHYTHM IN HARLEM), Edgar Hayes, Artie Shaw (both now titled IN THE MOOD), back to Wingy Manone (JUMPY NERVES) and then finally to Glenn.
It’s still familiar today, having been repeatedly repackaged as a popular song (with a lamentable lyric by Andy Razaf), a rock-n-roll number, a disco disc, a movie soundtrack standard and a favorite of the Millennial Swing movement.
Arranger Joe Garland created the charts for the Mills band in 1935 and Edgar Hayes in 1938. The Hayes rendition is the first to offer the call-to-arms opening phrase that draws the listener’s attention. The first two choruses and backing band riffs of the familiar Miller 78 are nearly in place, but there are numerous extra themes and riffs cluttering up the second half. The famous 12-bar sax riff never reappears and the coda is unmemorable.
Garland sold the Hayes chart to Artie Shaw, who set the tempo so slowly that it took six minutes to perform. Artie played it this way on several location broadcasts in December 1938 and later claimed that the composition was too long to record. However, on his commercial radio show for Old Gold Cigarettes, he reverted to the original fast tempo, clocking in at two minutes and forty-five seconds, so his excuse sounds like latter-day sour grapes for having missed out on a big hit.
With Shaw uninterested in further exploitation, Garland then sold the chart again to Glenn. What did Miller bring to it? He solved the problem that had bedeviled every version since Manone’s 1930 TAR PAPER STOMP. With his arranger’s savvy, Miller chopped out all the additional themes, and then converted the first solo spot into a tenor sax chase between Tex Beneke and Al Klink, followed by a Clyde Hurley trumpet chorus.
Recognizing that the tune’s hook was that catchy sax riff, Glenn returned to it, repeated three times increasingly diminuendo and concluded with a lip-busting rising figure for the trumpet section, capped with a coda incorporating a final sax riff restatement. By making these alterations, Glenn struck pay dirt.
Interestingly, there is an aircheck from Glen Island of IN THE MOOD performed several days before the record session. With a running time of 4 minutes and forty seconds, Glenn still had some whittling to do to get it down to the familiar length of 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
For the flip side of the original 78, Eddie Durham was tapped again for a jivey chart of I WANT TO BE HAPPY, the 1924 Vincent Youmans-Irving Caesar standard from the hit musical, No, No, Nanette. Glenn had written a martial-tempo jazz arrangement of the tune for Red Nichols back in 1930 and Benny Goodman and Chick Webb had done it more recently. It now became one of the best killer-dillers in the Miller discography. Hurley and Beneke solo in fine form followed by two choruses of increasingly agitated band riffs and a final shout out from Glenn and Moe Purtill before a neatly tied-up ending.
The hot stuff continues on WHAM (RE-BOP-BOOM-BAM), with Marion happily back in the songbird chair. It’s another Eddie Durham original, both composition and arrangement. Taken at a slower, groovier tempo, the vocal is followed by a chorus of pleasant riffing, then Tex, Glenn and Clyde solo. Hurley is especially inspired here.
Since Eddie Durham’s regular gig was with the great Jimmie Lunceford band, it’s not surprising that some of the Lunceford bounce seeps into the Miller rendition. Lunceford himself did not get around to recording WHAM until December and as one would expect, his version is looser and swingier than Glenn’s. It would take awhile longer for the Miller band to relax sufficiently to capture a taste of that uptown feel.
Ray Eberle comes up to bat twice, with one good tune and one that’s so-so. Bandleader Ted Fio Rito wrote the awkwardly titled AN ANGEL IN A FURNISHED ROOM, with lyrics by Al Dubin. Fio Rito had composed quality songs like I NEVER KNEW (I COULD LOVE ANYBODY) and THEN YOU’VE NEVER BEEN BLUE, but ANGEL is pretty uninspired, with a clichéd lyric.
Ray and Glenn do what they can with it, but make a better case for TWILIGHT INTERLUDE. Peter Tinturin was a fine, second-tier songwriter whose name never became well known, but he was the creator of FOOLIN’ MYSELF, BIG BOY BLUE and other songs recorded by Billie Holiday. Ella Fitzgerald and Mildred Bailey. Later, he crafted a batch of Western numbers for the post-war Tex Beneke band. Co-writer Al Jacobs would contribute I’VE GOT A HEARTFUL OF LOVE to the repertoire of Glenn’s AAF Band and Doris Day’s big hit, IF I GIVE MY HEART TO YOU.
Miller starts TWILIGHT INTERLUDE with some smooth muted trombone and Ray plaintively delivers the vocal. The whole performance clicks nicely; for comparison, there is a Glen Island aircheck from the same evening, where Ray sounds quite strained and the band hits some clams.
Glenn managed to squeeze in six completed masters on this three-hour session, concluding with another flagwaver, FAREWELL BLUES. Though no arranger is credited on this ancient 1922 jazz standard, written by the members of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, it sounds like Glenn’s work, with his distinctive boo-wah brass figures. He also takes a rangy solo, along with usual suspects Beneke and Hurley. The last chorus has some wonderful arranged riffing, which likely sent the dancers into paroxysms of joy!
It was not quite farewell yet to Westchester – there was one more record session to come while the band was comfortably situated at the Glen Island Casino and it would be a good one.