Bing! His Legendary Years, 1931 to 1957

by: Bing Crosby

This four-CD set does a superb job of summing up Bing Crosby's years with Decca. After nine titles from 1931 (which were acquired by Decca later on), the program concentrates on the 1934-1957 period and, in addition to the expected hits, all aspects of his career are covered. Despite a few Dixieland-flavored selections, Crosby had largely abandoned jazz by the late '30s, but his phrasing (which was influenced by Louis Armstrong) and appealing voice should be of interest to jazz listeners. His ballads grew in stature in later years, while the up-tempo performances tended to be less memorable novelties. Although it should be augmented by collections that focus on his recordings of the '20s and early '30s, this is the definitive Bing Crosby set. ~ Scott Yanow

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