Mosaic has just published a box of all the Lunceford Deccas; too rich for
my blood but definitely a good value. Their notes would probably contain
the absolute answer to your question,
but my impression was that Lunceford, who had resettled from Memphis to NYC
in 1930, spent the early 1930s casting about trying to find a consistent
recording situation and not finding it.
They made two killer masters for ARC/Columbia in 1932 that didn't surface
until like 1972, and their recorded output before Decca can only
characterized as spotty. Entering the US market
in 1934, Decca was looking for underutlilized talent and found Lunceford,
whose band was by then well established in Harlem but not very busy in the
studios. I for one am very grateful for it.

The Decca Jazz "Swingsation" reissue of Lunceford in the 90s was an
excellent single-disc compilation, taken from metal parts and sounding
terrific. Comparison to recordings of the Glenn
Miller civvy band can be instructive; so many little turns of phrase,
transitions and voicings are borrowed from Lunceford with little or no
modification, other than that Miller's band was bigger.

David N. "Uncle Dave" Lewis

On Sun, Sep 30, 2012 at 8:33 AM, Art Shifrin <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> This interesting post reminds me of a question that I never pursued but am
> now, to take advantage of the aggregate knowledge of this group.  That
> Victor to me, personifies HOT band arrangements and performances of that
> 'era'.  Why did Lunceford wind up (phonographic pun intended) at @ Decca so
> soon afterwards?
> Art