The Glenn Miller Band playing at the Hayloft on Monday and the Glenn Miller Band recording "In the Digital Mood" share a leader -- trombonist Larry O'Brien -- and some classic charts, but that's all.
The touring unit is mostly made up of youngsters, only distant heirs of that musical era in the late '30s and early '40s when Miller's was the dance band.
The recording unit is made up of such studio vets as guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, drummer Ronnie Zito, saxophonist Phil Bodner and trombonist Sonny Russo. The vocals, which are downplayed, feature that warm old voice from the past, Julius LaRosa, and some pretty good backup singers (including Mel Torme, who contributes a whistle solo to "Chattanooga Choo-Choo").
There's another big difference that's music to your ears. As the title suggests, the album was recorded using the latest distortion-free digital process. The resulting audio clarity boosts the classic arrangements and instrumentation to an energetic high: The punchy ensemble sound, the dynamic interplay and the bright brassy accents in particular have never sounded so vibrant.
Under the steady production hands of Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen, the band jumps out of the grooves. With Zito's four- on-the-floor propulsion, charged solos and the brassy chorales of the familiar program (the raucous "Pennsylvania Six-5000," the jittery "American Patrol," the jumpy "Little Brown Jug" and the lush "Moonlight Serenade," among others), the band plays as it must have 40 years ago, except it's tomorrow's sound. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUM GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA -- In the Digital Mood (GRP-A-1002). THE SHOW GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA, Monday at the Harlequin Dinner Theater at 8, (buffet starts at 6; 15).