McKinney's Cotton Pickers

McKinney's Cotton Pickers/Don Redman

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For the final of three Classics CDs, the last recordings of McKinney's Cotton Pickers finds the band beset by commercial influences and declining a bit after the departure of Don Redman (although altoist Benny Carter became its temporary leader and it was still an impressive outfit). The latter part of the CD features Don Redman's Orchestra of 1938-40, a group that, despite its leader's arrangements and some impressive musicianship, never really caught on. The best among Redman's enjoyable swing performances are "'Deed I Do," "Down Home Rag," "Milenberg Joys," a remake of his composition "Baby Ain't I Good to You" and his theme (heard in two versions) "Chant of the Weed."