Charlie Ventura, who rose to fame with Gene Krupa's Orchestra and Trio, was a fine tenor-saxophonist who could get rather silly at times in his playing. There is little of the latter on this definitive two-LP set. Ventura is heard with a sextet in 1945 that co-stars trumpeter Buck Clayton, heads a fine quartet, tries to sound modern in a septet with trumpeter Charlie Shavers and trombonist Bill Harris, shares a frontline with trombonist Kai Winding and jams with his septet in 1948. Some of the later selections with Jackie Cain and Roy Kral on the vocals are dated (check out their odd version of "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles") as Ventura tried to get "with it" and take over the modern jazz movement with his "Bop for the People" music. However in general the music is quite rewarding and this two-fer gives one a strong look at his early dates as a leader.
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