Emile Barnes was a legendary New Orleans clarinetist who did not record that extensively. The music on this CD (one of the dates was mostly unissued previously) should not have even come out. The problem is that Barnes is way out of tune during the 18 performances (taken from two dates in the early '60s), and despite some good ideas, his sound sinks these efforts. Barnes is heard with a pair of overlapping bands that feature either Eddie Richardson or Doc Paulin on trumpet with trombonist Eddie Morris, but his own playing is so erratic as to make much of this freewheeling music rather unlistenable. Couple that with some remarkable liner notes (what is the writer attempting to say, and has he even listened to these selections?), and one has a major disappointment.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow