by Charlie BarnetCharlie Barnet


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Volume one in the Classics chronological survey of Charlie Barnet's complete recordings is a rich truffle of hotel dance band music from the mid-'30s, thickly coated with a butter icing of Tin Pan Alley pop vocals. A nutty layer of authentic jazz marzipan helps to make this collection substantially worthwhile, even though only three out of 23 tunes are instrumentals. The first four selections use arrangements by Horace Henderson. Barnet played smoky tenor sax, occasionally cavorting in ways that reveal a Coleman Hawkins influence destined to serve him well throughout his career. The first 11 tracks were originally issued on the Banner label. The music sounds wonderfully dated, largely because of the singers. Harry vonZell was a bit of a sap and Jackie Martin was mostly insipid. His one decent performance is the jaunty "Baby, Take a Bow." Helen Heath was the best of the lot. Her sense of timing and dramatic phraseology rescued all of the tunes assigned to her except for "Butterfingers," which was not a very good song to begin with. Barnet himself takes what must have been his first vocal on record, singing "Emaline" in a voice that is peculiarly likeable. In January of 1935, the Barnet orchestra performed at a hotel in New Orleans, apparently playing to indifferent audiences. While still in the Crescent City, they cut six titles for Victor's budget label, Bluebird, on May 21, establishing a business relationship that would continue for several years with only occasional breaches of contract. Barnet's own composition, "Growlin'" is a fascinating, cool-rhythm tone painting. "Nagasaki" and "On a Holiday" are both hot stuff, based upon arrangements purchased from Benny Carter. The most intriguing component is the presence of Red Norvo who sits in on the piano for this date. He is most audible during the slower numbers, especially when Marion Nichols isn't singing on "I'm Keeping Those Keepsakes." Norvo and Barnet made guest appearances with each other once in awhile during the mid-'30s (see Classics 1085: Red Norvo's 1933-1936). An oddball session for the ARC label occurred in May of 1936. Bob Parks -- yet another singing guy in a suit -- and Joe Hostetter both pour on the sugar. Barnet sings a couple of numbers in a neat, tidy, friendly manner. Back with Bluebird a few weeks later, the Barnet orchestra featured Laura Deane on "But Definitely," a harmless venture that at least swings better than Shirley Temple's version. Hostetter redeems himself with an excellent vocal performance on "I'm an Old Cowhand," leaving for posterity one of the funniest renditions of this satirical anti-cowboy song ever recorded.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/16/2001
Label: Melodie Jazz Classic
UPC: 3307517113320
catalogNumber: 1133
Rank: 141892


  1. What Is Sweeter
  2. I'm No Angel
  3. I Want You, I Need You
  4. Buckin' the Wind
  5. I Want You, I Need You
  6. Infatuation
  7. I Lost Another Sweetheart
  8. Emaline
  9. Butterfingers
  10. Baby, Take a Bow
  11. This Is Our Last Night Together
  12. Growlin'
  13. Nagasaki
  14. I'm Keeping Those Keepsakes
  15. Fare Thee Well, Annabelle
  16. Don't Be Afraid to Tell Your Mother
  17. On a Holiday (Devil's Holiday)
  18. My First Thrill
  19. The Swing Waltz
  20. Cross Patch
  21. Too Good to Be True
  22. I'm an Old Cowhand (From the Rio Grande)
  23. But Definitely

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Charlie Barnet   Primary Artist,Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Vocals
Red Norvo   Bass,Guitar,Piano
Horace Diaz   Guitar
John Doyle   Trombone
Gordon Griffin   Trombone,Trumpet
Eddie Sauter   Trumpet
Sid Weiss   Bass
Joe Hostetter   Trumpet,Vocals
Kermit Simmons   Trumpet
Frank Amaral   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Charlie Barnet   Director
Benny Carter   Arranger
Clay Boland   Composer
Harvey Brooks   Composer
Eddie Sauter   Arranger
Allie Wrubel   Composer
Anatol Schenker   Liner Notes
Mort Dixon   Composer
Jay Gorney   Composer
Gladys Dubois   Composer

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