Unfortunately, this golden era of the Tommy Dorsey orchestra has never been properly reissued by RCA/Bluebird/Victor. (The recordings that feature Frank Sinatra are of course an exception.) On CD, we have the essential 'Yes, Indeed!' single-disc compilation. The Chronological Classics series ends in 1939, just before greatness begins. On LP, the French branch of RCA has issued several volumes of 'The Best of Tommy Dorsey', but it is very far from complete.
Here I am featuring two tracks from 1940–1941, both arranged by the great Sy Oliver. 'Swing Time up in Harlem' is a catchy uptempo number that features the beautiful voice of Connie Haines. Her brief vocal chorus starts very late, at 2:10 – this is a typical arranger's device of Sy Oliver. 'Serenade to the Spot' is a hypnotic and hard swinging slow instrumental. Both are generous 78 rpm recordings, each being close to three and a half minutes long.
Discographical data from The Jazz Discography by Tom Lord:
Tommy Dorsey And His Orchestra: Ziggy Elman, Ray Linn, Chuck Peterson, Clyde Hurley (tp) Les Jenkins, George Arus, Lowell Martin (tb) Johnny Mince (cl,as) Fred Stulce, Heinie Beau (as) Don Lodice, Paul Mason (ts) Joe Bushkin (p) Clark Yocum (g) Sid Weiss (b) Buddy Rich (d) Connie Haines (vcl) Sy Oliver (arr) Tommy Dorsey (tb,ldr)
Hollywood, CA, October 16, 1940
055108-1 Swing Time up in Harlem Vic 27249
Tommy Dorsey And His Orchestra: Ziggy Elman, Ray Linn, Chuck Peterson, Jimmy Blake (tp) George Arus, Les Jenkins, Lowell Martin (tb) Johnny Mince (cl,as) Fred Stulce, Heinie Beau (as) Don Lodice, Paul Mason (ts) Joe Bushkin (p) Clark Yocum (g) Sid Weiss (b) Buddy Rich (d) Sy Oliver (arr) Tommy Dorsey (tb,ldr)
New York, February 17, 1941
060907-1 Serenade to the Spot Vic 27374
LP source: The Best of Tommy Dorsey, Volume 7 (1938–1941) (RCA(F) PM42036)