Soon after Glenn Miller enlisted in the Army Air Corps during WWII he was appointed Director of Bands and given the task of assembling an orchestra of his own. Among the recruits pouring into the service at that time were many professional musicians who had either been members of popular dance bands or of classical orchestras. This allowed Miller to assemble an all-star line-up for his new band. Among its members were arranger Jerry Gray, trumpeter Bernie Privin, clarinet and alto sax man Peanuts Hucko, classical violin prodigy George Ockner, drummer and bandleader Ray McKinley, pianist Mel Powell, and vocalist Johnny Desmond. The orchestra's duties included recording music for public relations and recruitment radio programs, recording V-Discs, and playing at recruitment drives. From March to June of 1944 the band was also given the assignment of recording 15-minute programs for broadcast to servicemen overseas. Altogether they produced 22 of those programs. The Secret Broadcasts is a three-disc collection of the best of those recordings.
Miller's service band is arguably his best. With unlimited resources he was able to add a string section, something he had always wanted to add to his civilian orchestra, and experiment with his sound. The results are similar to what other bandleaders, such as Artie Shaw and Harry James, had achieved, though the music is definitely Miller, but with an added lushness, an added color to the pallet he had previously used to paint his work. Selections range from Miller standards, such as ''A String of Pearls'' and ''Tuxedo Junction,'' to well-known numbers of the day, such as ''Poinciana'' and ''The Victory Polka,'' to classical arrangements, such as the "Anvil Chorus'' and ''Beautiful Blue Danube.''
Miller's service orchestra never recorded for the public and much of their music remained hidden from all but the ears of collectors until recently. Fans of Miller's civilian outfit will find this collection as interesting as it is delightful to hear. A recommended selection.