The Claude Thornhill Collection 1934-53
Catalogue Number: FADCD2054
Pianist, bandleader and composer Claude Thornhill was one of the most respected personalities in the swing and big band eras, admired by his peers for the unique, distinctive and stylish approach of his orchestras, as well as his skill and versatility as a pianist within other leaders’ orchestras, especially when accompanying the top singers of the day He came to prominence in the mid-30s, playing with the bands of Benny Goodman, Louis Prima, Ray Noble, Billie Holiday and Maxine Sullivan before forming his own orchestra in 1937. His unusual and original sound came from the fact that his musical textures did not employ vibrato with the colour coming from using instruments often not associated with jazz. Working with arranger Gil Evans in the ‘40s, he made some highly innovative recordings which greatly influenced bebop artists like Miles Davis, and his work stands apart from many of his contemporaries during those years. This excellent-value 46-track collection covers the two core decades of his career, from his studio debut in 1934 through to 1953, by which time changing tastes and the economic climate had seen the demise of most big bands. It includes examples of his early work with other leaders, where his piano makes a tasteful and stylish contribution, but primarily features the recordings of his own orchestras before and after his WWII military service, with his style developing into sophisticated orchestral pieces which almost transcend the boundaries of jazz. It is an entertaining insight into the work of one of the genre’s most distinctive stylists.