From the Record Shelves #126

Hey! Young Fella!

LP Regal/EMI REG 1076

I bought this LP in 1967. I think it was cheap. But the music on it is anything but that. It’s rich and almost every track is a masterpiece.

In February 1933 violinist Joe Venuti brought his fellow musicians, young virtuosi but already veterans within the idiom, into the studio. Jimmy Dorsey played reeds and Phil Wall, piano, Adrian Rollini was back on his feet after a serious illness and Eddie Lang was still alive. They played a pop song called Hey Young Fella by Fields — McHugh. So what did this “Blue Five” do with their talents?

First we hear a rubato clarinet intro from Jimmy Dorsey, then the vibraphone of Adrian Rollini takes charge of presenting the melody in a lively tempo with Dorsey taking the middle eight bars on alto sax.

Now Dorsey has changed instrument and plays one full chorus on muted cornet backed up by Rollini’s bass sax.

Time for a short piano solo on the verse in which Rollini joins Phil Wall in a duet.

Then Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang play one of their usual violin and guitar duets while Rollini has taken back his big saxophone.

After their half chorus the following chorus in a new key is a bass sax solo with low register clarinet from Dorsey on the eight bar bridge.

For the last “out” chorus Venuti plays lead on violin raising the key one scale step with the alto of Dorsey in a secondary role.

Finally, we get an alto sax coda accompanied by vibraphone from Rollini.

Great stuff, and we also have to admire the way they set up their instruments in the studio and the work of the recording engineers at Columbia for getting such an astonishing balance.