These 23 Berigan sides chronicle a time when the trumpeter was in between being a sideman and putting together his own band. After scoring several solo triumphs with Tommy Dorsey's outfit in 1937 ("Marie," "Song of India"), Berigan organized a mid-sized combo which included such standouts as tenor saxophonist George Auld, pianist Joe Bushkin, and drummer George Wettling. The heyday to come, with Buddy Rich behind the drum kit and a signature reading of "I Can't Get Started," were still about a year off. In the meantime, Berigan and company made out fine with a mix of tight arrangements and the maestro's top-notch solo work. This Classics disc features a sampling of those small group recordings ("All God's Chillun' Got Rhythm," "Swanee River"), plus some of Berigan's first sides with his big band. In spite of a few questionable transfers here and there, the disc has good sound quality throughout. Be that as it may, this installment in Classics' chronological series is still best suited for seasoned Berigan fans.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook