Charlie Kennedy is best-known for being the fine bop-oriented alto soloist with Gene Krupa's mid-to-late-'40s orchestra. This Savoy reissue CD, which starts off with the five songs from his only date as a leader, is different than expected, for Kennedy is heard exclusively on tenor. His style fits into the swing to bop transition and, although he has a cooler sound, Kennedy's playing sometimes resembles that of Charie Ventura. While Kennedy (who is accompanied by pianist Johnny Guarnieri, guitarist Bill De Arango, bassist Al McKibbon and drummer Buddy De Rocco) dominates the first five numbers, Ventura himself is showcased on the remaining five songs in a quartet with pianist Arnold Ross, bassist John Levy and drummer Specs Powell and he is typically extroverted on four originals and "Dark Eyes." As usual with Denon's Savoy reissues, the packaging is cheap, dated and somewhat chintzy but, due to the formerly rare music, this CD is worth picking up.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow