Charlie Ventura


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Charlie Ventura's final recording as a leader took place in 1977 for the Famous Door label, his first album since 1957 under his name. Personal troubles had somewhat diminished his once majestic tone on the tenor sax, though he seems in high spirits throughout the session. Joining him are several old friends, including trombonists Urbie Green and George Masso, pianist John Bunch, bassist Milt Hinton, and drummer Mousie Alexander, along with the up and coming trumpeter Warren Vaché. Ventura revisits his earlier hit "High on an Open Mike" and also contributed one new composition ("Newport" to the session. Ventura's peak performance is the rhapsodic treatment of the perennial standard "Body and Soul." The other soloists shine throughout the session, especially Green and Vaché. Unfortunately, this LP lapsed from print following the death of producer Harry Lim (owner of Famous Door), but the masters may yet resurface since the label's holdings were acquired by George Buck for his non-profit Jazzology conglomerate.

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