The Million Dollar Sound Of The World's Most Precious Violins
Enoch Light And His Orchestra
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William Ruhlmann [allmusic.com]
It's not really apparent on The Million Dollar Sound of the World's Most Precious Violins whether Enoch Light's string section is full of Stradivarius instruments, but the bandleader does try to give his listeners their money's worth on this collection of orchestral treatments of pop standards of the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. His arrangements as usual are full of ear-catching effects, starting with the bongo drums on many tracks that give an exotic (if not exactly expensive) feel to the proceedings. Light tends to hand the melodies around the orchestra, bouncing them from the strings to the horns and reeds, and adding his own little themes here and there. When the group plays ''I'll Be Seeing You,'' for instance, the massed saxophones provide a bed reminiscent of a Glenn Miller arrangement, with some of the strings picked pizzicato for percussion and flutes adding little note clusters like cascading water. What does any of that have to do with the sentimental tone of ''I'll Be Seeing You''? Who cares? The lyrics aren't being sung, anyway. Similarly, Light gives ''Temptation'' a bolero drum pattern (for part of the track, that is), while the strings emphasize the melodrama, as if the music were intended as the soundtrack for a sword-and-sandal screen epic. All the gimmicks are there to engage the ear, and they do, even if they also give Light's music a novelty aspect.