The final of the four "complete" Bennie Moten Classics CDs, which contain all of the orchestra's recordings except for a dozen alternate takes, has the band's final selections from 1930 (including some vocals by Jimmy Rushing) and then all of the music from Moten's classic final session of Dec. 13, 1932. With trumpeter Hot Lips Page, trombonist Dan Minor, Eddie Durham (the main arranger) on trombone and guitar, baritonist Jack Washington, Ben Webster on tenor, bassist Walter Page and pianist Count Basie, the orchestra at times almost sounds like the Count Basie big band of 1937. "Toby," the original version of "Moten Swing," "The Blue Room," "Milenberg Joys," "Lafayette" and "Prince of Wails" are among the many memorable selections.
Viola player David Aaron Carpenter brings together works united by their composers’ longing for home. Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, deftly arranged for viola by Carpenter himself, and Bartók’s desolate Viola Concerto are each influenced by Eastern European folk song—both composers lived in the U.S. as they wrote their masterpieces, dreaming of their motherlands. Walton’s sweetly melancholic Viola Concerto has an unsettled feeling, while Alexey Shor, now a U.S. resident, recalls his native Kiev with music of great emotional depth and character. Carpenter’s flawless playing is the perfect vehicle for this rich, varied program.