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Warren Kime

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Warren Kime deserves top billing in the “now sound” hall of fame for his three remarkable Command albums featuring his Brass Impact band. With their bright yellow-brass covers, these records stand out from the crowd in the bins and on the turntable, and offer an intense, delicious blend of groovy tunes, splashy instrumental arrangements, and ecstatic vocal highlights (featuring Warren’s wife Donna in the lead). If I were recording magnate for a day, these would be the first things I’d reissue. Run—don’t walk—to your nearest thrift store and start hunting for them.

Kime was a big band vet. He played trumpet and even took the mike as a singer on occasion, and toured as a member of bands led by Ray Anthony, Ralph Marterie, and others, before settling in Chicago in the mid-1950s, where he worked as a staff musician for CBS.

Who really deserves the credit for the Brass Impact sound is hard to tell. I suspect the kudos should be shared among Kime, his wife, and Command’s house arranger, Jack Andrews, for it’s a sound dramatically different from any of Kime’s other recordings. Before Brass Impact, Kime was a nameless anchorman of countless big band trumpet sections, working for Ray Anthony, Les Elgart, Ralph Marterie, Tex Beneke, Doc Severinsen, Skitch Henderson, and others. He played with Art Van Damme for several years and did some arranging for Van Damme’s Septet of the late 1950s.
In early 1965, Kime, who was leading a band in the Chicago area at the time, recorded a few of his own arrangements, which included a small choral section which he used like a fourth brass section above trombones, fluegelhorns, and trumpets.

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