During the '50s the Everest label was a preserve for big band leaders like Charlie Barnet whose days on the road were behind them, but still had a yen to hit the studios. Barnet's band could still hurl fireballs with the best of them, even twenty years after the height of his popularity, and although the numbers still run around the three-minute length, they still offer plenty of opportunities to get in some tasty swing soloing.
Barnet has added a bit of Johnny Hodges to his timbre, yet he knows how to use the basic swing vocabulary to string together nice solos. He's joined by Charlie Shavers and Clark Terry to give him a front line that's practically unbeatable. The rest of the bandstand is filled with some better-known players like Billy Byers and Chubby Jackson and a bunch of unknowns who hold their own.
This release compiles both of Barnet's Everest recordings, Cherokee and More. Both feature tunes that were Barnet staples, like "Cherokee and "Redskin Rhumba, as well as popular swing tunes associated more with others, like "Moten Swing and "Take the 'A' Train. Yet Barnet puts his own unique spin on each, due in large part to the expert charts by veteran West Coaster Bill Holman. For More Barnet sticks to alto and soprano saxophones, giving him a whole new palette to work with.
Once again the Everest label has proven that letting these bandleaders have free reign in the studio was the best way to produce great records. And once again Empire Musicwerks has unearthed a forgotten gem from the '50s. With crisp sound and hot playing, this is a big band album anyone can enjoy.
Personnel: Charlie Barnet: tenor sax; Charlie Shavers; Irving Markowitz; Clark Terry; Al Stewart; Don
Lamond; Chubby Jackson; Phil Woods; Kurt Bloom; and others.