The prima, function of any first-class orchestra should be two-fold. Firstly it must create musical sounds which are a pleasure to listen to, and secondly its leader must show an awareness of tempo that meets the needs of dancers.
Kaempfert’s gift for tempo and mood is quite vividly illustrated by the selection of music on this disc, an attractive and colourful mixture of standards and originals. The free, spontaneous communication which exists between Bert and his many fans is somehow a natural culmination of the music itself. His approach is always an honest one. Take, for instance, his interpretation of the Vincent Youmans classic, written in 1930, Time On My Hands. Here we have Kaempfert the orchestrator at his best, giving full emphasis to the excellent melody and at the same time bringing it solidly up to data by applying a modern approach to the rhythm, all of which makes the song sound even better—particularly for dancing. Like most Kaempfert recordings this disc carries a generous quote of Bert’s own compositions. Especially good are Living It Up and The Happy Trumpeter. The former contains all the best elements of Kaempfert’s approach to big band orchestration while the latter is typical of the composer’s sense of musical fun. Amongst the other titles one could single out are Stompin’ At The Savoy, a well-known big band standard recalling the heyday of the famous Swing Era in general, and the great Benny Goodman in particular. Bert’s treatment is, of course, identifiably Kaempfert in style while remaining faithful to the original in spirit. Indeed the same could be said of The Sheik Of Araby, a well-loved tune stemming from an even sadist period in popular musical history. Kaempfert clearly had a ball recording this one and combining the tune’s originalatmosphere with his own distinctive musical personality.
It’s the same delightful pattern of melodic and percussive flair that Kaempfert displays throughout all the twelve tracks presented here. Dance Time with Bert Kaempfert is an exhilarating experience – and one to repeat often, whether you’re a listener Or a dancer.
Label: Reader’s Digest GEKL 8A/S3