Although Charlie Barnet will always be best known for his popular swing band of 1939-1942, he continued leading orchestras throughout the 1940s. In 1949 he temporarily embraced bebop, with his band being full of modernists (some of which were Stan Kenton's sidemen, since Kenton was taking a year off). At one point his trumpet section had three screamers (Maynard Ferguson, Doc Severinsen, and Ray Wetzel) in addition to the fine bop soloist Rolf Ericson. Other musicians who played with Barnet in 1949 included pianist Claude Williamson, bassist Eddie Safransky, altoist Vinny Dean, Dick Hafer on tenor, and trombonist Herbie Harper, with some of the arrangements provided by Manny Albam, Gil Fuller, and Pete Rugolo. This CD has all of Barnet's bop recordings, plus a version of "Redskin Rhumba" from mid-1948 and a dance band date with a different orchestra in 1950. Among the highlights are "Cu-Ba," "Charlie's Other Aunt," "Overtime," "Portrait of Edward Kennedy Ellington," "Bebop Spoken Here" (featuring singing from Dave Lambert and Buddy Stewart), "Claude Reigns," and "Really." Particularly highly recommended to bop fans who would never have associated Charlie Barnet with that style.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow