Georgie Auld had important associations during the swing era with the big bands of Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman. While with Goodman, he played with one of the clarinetist's finest small groups, the septet that also featured trumpeter Cootie Williams and guitarist Charlie Christian.
Auld's tone evolved from being influenced by Charlie Barnet to a softer sound closer to Lester Young. In the mid-'40s he led his own short-lived big band and then spent the 1950s and '60s leading combos, doing studio work, and in general having a low profile. Four of his best albums from the 1951-1963 period are reissued in full on this generous two-CD set.
A 1951 quintet matches Auld with trombonist Frank Rosolino on a variety of standards and tunes from Count Basie's book, including "Taps Miller" and "Airmail Special." A 1959 septet is a tribute to the Goodman period and has Auld, trumpeter Don Fagerquist, pianist Lou Levy, guitarist Howard Roberts, and vibraphonist Larry Bunker mostly playing songs recorded by the Benny Goodman Septet of 1940-1941. The second CD consists of a pair of albums from 1963. Plays the Winners reunites Auld with Rosolino in a quintet, while Here's to the Losers has Auld as the only horn in a group with Larry Bunker and Lou Levy.
Despite the fact that he plays quite well throughout, Auld did not record as a leader after 1963 other than his work for the New York, New York soundtrack a decade later. He remains one of the most underrated saxophonists to emerge during the swing era, with this two-fer featuring some of his finest recordings of later years.