This collection of Artie Shaw big band recordings comes from his brief association with the Musicraft label. Having assembled and broken up several earlier units, this edition, heard in recordings made between 1945 and 1946, is more of an arranger's band than one that features many soloists, other than the leader. During this period of Shaw's career, he was constantly changing the instrumentation of his band and making personnel substitutions. Fellow Musicraft artist Mel Tormé and his group the Mel-Tones are added on some tracks, though this was a studio relationship exclusively and they were not a part of Shaw's organization. The innovative blend of strings, voices and brass in the swinging arrangement of "What Is This Thing Called Love" is the highlight of the vocal selections, along with an updated instrumental version of the clarinetist's earlier hit, "Begin the Beguine." The only reservation about this compilation is that several tracks are abruptly faded or even truncated.
In the tradition of Kitchen Confidential and Waiter Rant, a rollicking, eye-opening, fantastically indiscreet memoir of a life spent (and misspent) in the hotel industry.