Les Brown is another one to those second-tier swing artists that have not been reissued in full on LP or CD. This is especially true for his Decca and Bluebird years, 1936–1940. Les Brown started his first band at Duke University and they were accordingly known as the Duke Blue Devils. With that band we hear Swamp Fire, which had previously been recorded by Ozzie Nelson. The band soon split up and Brown formed another orchestra in New York a year later. The band switched back and forth between Decca and Bluebird, and by 1940 they were back at Decca for a final session there. We hear their dramatic rendition of Comanche War Dance that had been recorded by Ray Noble and Charlie Barnet a few months earlier.
Les Brown And His Duke Blue Devils: Corky Cornelius, Bob Thorne, Earl Kirk (tp) Don Maires, Joe Pilato (tb) Les Brown (cl,as,arr) Herb Muse, Joe Grando (as) Dutch McMillan, Stewart McKay (ts) John Goodman (p) Stacy McKee (g) Kenny Dutton (b) Howard Smith (d) Glen Osser (arr)
New York, March 18, 1937
62047-A Swamp Fire Decca 1231
Les Brown And His Orchestra: Eddie Bailey, Bob Thorne, Paul Fredericks (tp) Warren Brown, Si Zentner, Ronnie Chase (tb) Les Brown (cl,as) Steve Madrick (cl,as) Herb Muse (as) Wolfe Tayne (ts) Eddie Scherr (sop,ts,bar) Billy Rowland (p) John Knepper (b) Eddie Julian (d) Joe Petrone (arr)
New York, April 9, 1940
67512-A Comanche War Dance (jp arr) Decca 3155
LP source: Big Bands: Les Brown (Time Life STBB-11)