Charlie Ventura

In Chicago

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Charlie Ventura is heard leading a sextet in these live broadcasts from 1947 appearances in Chicago. This short-lived group is a solid one, though the announcer's introduction of Ventura as the top saxophonist in America is a bit of hyperbole, as he seems rather conservative, while trombonist Kai Winding comes across as the top soloist in these performances. Winding is an effective foil for the leader in "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now." The bop arrangement of "Just You, Just Me" features vocalist Buddy Stewart scatting in unison with the leader. Ventura has "It's the Talk of the Town" to himself. A number of the arrangements interweave standards and derivative bop numbers based on the older songs' chord changes. Lou Stein, Bob Carter, and Shelly Manne make up the supportive rhythm section. The tenor saxophonist also composed several songs on this album, including "Eleven Sixty," a tribute to then radio host (and later Today Show star in the early days of television) Dave Garroway. The sound quality is decent, though Shelly Manne's drums seem somewhat muffled. Initially issued by Zim in 1976, this music has been unavailable since the demise of the label.