Brown is best known now as the leader of Bob Hope's band-in-residence (in many residences, in fact). But before he hooked up with Hope in 1947—after Hope had experimented with bands led by such people as Skinnay Ennis and Stan Kenton—he had established a record as one of the most accomplished leaders of the Swing Era.
While his band never produced the all-star sidemen Ellington, Goodman or Dorsey did, its arrangements, by Brown himself, Frank Comstock and Ben Homer, carried a compact charge. He had sense of humor enough to record not only such classics spin-offs as "Bizet Had His Day," but also the send-up "Everybody's Makin' Money But Tchaikovsky."
This 16-tune album, part of a "Best of Big Bands" series that also includes such people as Sammy Kaye, Les and Larry Elgart, Glen Gray and Woody Herman, contains most of the Brown band's biggest hits: "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," "Sentimental Journey" and "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time."
And yes, that swingy, sultry-sweet singer is in fact Doris Day, who got her start as a 16-year-old with Brown in 1940 and became one of the era's best band singers. (Columbia)