Bunny Berigan was one of the greatest trumpeters of the 1930s and arguably the best of 1935-38. Prior to leading his short-lived big band in 1937, Berigan was a greatly in-demand sideman for studio work. A spectacular soloist who had a beautiful tone in all registers, as well as an expert sight-reader, Berigan appeared on literally hundreds of sessions during the 1930-36 period, making a lucrative living during the worst years of the Depression. This CD from the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors' label consists of 24 very obscure studio recordings, all of which have superior Berigan solos. The dance band charts, as played by Fred Rich, the ARC House Orchestra, Victor Young, Chick Bullock, and (in one case) the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, are mostly interchangeable, the songs are quite obscure, and the vocalists are routine if tolerable. But there are many short, hot solos, not only from Berigan but from the likes of clarinetist Jimmy Dorsey, violinist Joe Venuti, guitarist Eddie Lang, and other strong jazz players. Even veteran collectors of 1930s music will probably not be familiar with most of these enjoyable performances (Berigan's presence was not mentioned on the original 78s), making this a highly recommended set for lovers of pre-bop jazz.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow