Tenor saxophonist Charlie Ventura's 1949 concert at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium was fully recorded and documented in part by both Decca and GNP/Crescendo; both releases are completely different. The Decca half, made available on this CD by "MCA," features Ventura with a septet that includes trumpeter Conte Candoli, trombonist Benny Green, altoist Boots Mussuli, pianist Roy Kral, bassist Kenny O'Brien, drummer Ed Shaugnessy, and the vocals of Jackie Kain and Roy Kral. This was one of Ventura's finest groups, as can be heard on such numbers as "Euphoria," a bizarre "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles," "How High the Moon," and Lou Stein's classic "East of Suez." In addition, Candoli is featured on "Fine and Dandy," Ventura plays baritone on "If I Had You," and Green's humorous style is showcased on "Pennies From Heaven." This is a near-classic set that should greatly interest bop collectors. The GNP release is also quite rewarding.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow