19 JULY 1957, Page 33

Soft and Sweet

HAVE never been able to under- stand why British bands seem to be incapable of playing sweet swing that really swings. Put on a prewar Goodman or Tommy Dorsey record and you will hear more swing, balance and sweetness in their arrangements of twenty years ago than you will hear in any British band today—except Heath's and possibly . . . I was going to say Cyril Stapleton's, but his latest LP Music for Dancing in the Dark (Decca) is disappointing. The selection of tunes is admir- able, but the arrangements are up to the standard of neither the composers nor the players.

Hugo Winterhalter and his orchestra in Eyes of Love (RCA) try to produce much the same effect with less rhythm and more strings. They play twelve songs to do with eyes—green eyes, dreamy eyes, fluttering eyes, tear-filled eyes, eyes that do see and don't see a sweetheart's face. Dreamy, soaring strings that will bring romance even to a wet Sunday afternoon in Wigan.

The beautiful title song Around the World is already high on the hit parade, and there is a lot of vitality and melody throughout the rest of the late Victor Young's score for Mr. Todd's Around the World in Eighty Days (Brunswick). As filn'r scores go, a good LP.

Harry Belafonte addicts can now spend Air Evening with Belafonte (RCA). This unique young singer gives his usual intense treatment to twelve folk-songs from such widely scattered places as England, Ireland, the West Indies, Israel, Haiti and New Orleans.

Kay Starr's talent as a jazz-singer seems to be not as widely known and appreciated as it should be. Swinging with the Starr (London) should prove that Miss Starr could sing and swing as far back as '45 and '46. Add a backing by such jazzmen as Bigard, Venuti, Willie Smith, Dickenson, Reuss, and you have forty minutes of thoroughly relaxed, thoroughly melodious jazz.

Purists maintain that the violin does not lend itself to jazz. I don't know how they account for Joe Venuti and Stephane Grappelly, though. Listen to the latter on Improvisations (Felsted). His in- ventive originality is outstanding, always con- trolled, always logical, never synthetic. He plays fourteen old favourites accompanied by a quin- tet—all worth hearing.

Two more LP's of unusual improvisations have beep issued recently. The first, I play Trombone

(London), stars Frank Rosolino with a trio. He is best known as Stan Kenton's prominently fea- tured trombonist in the '53-'54 orchestra. He slides skilfully and imaginatively through num- bers like Flamingo, I may be Wrong and The Things we did last Summer. For those with a modern palate.

The second is Improvisations by the Don Shirley Duo (London)—ten musical conceptions by the most controversial pianist in America to- day, accompanied by Richard Davis on bass. As the sleeve notes themselves say, 'It's a while before you know what he's doing or even what he' sidling up to.' But listen carefully and it will be satisfying when you eventually begin to under- stand his ideas. But concentrate. .