Maxwell Davis: A Tribute To Charlie Barnet & Salute Stan Kenton

Very well-played covers of famous numbers by famous bandleaders beg the question 'What's the point of imitating the original?'


The first album begins with a well-paced Cherokee, followed by an evocative Pompton Turnpike. Unfortunately, on these and the remaining titles, none of the soloists are identified – and the liner notes by Frank Evans are no help.

That said, this is high-quality big-band music-making, with Don Fagerquist, Al Porcino, Plas Johnson and Claude Williamson among the better-known players. Charlie’s Other Aunt and a well-paced Skyliner sound almost as good as the originals.

On Salute Stan Kenton the musicians include Conte and Pete Condoli, Al Porcino, Bud Shank, Bill Holman Laurindo Almeida, Bob Cooper and Mel Lewis, all members of Kenton’s various orchestras. The repertoire is very familiar and includes reworkings of Artistry In Rhythm, Peanut Vendor, and Intermission Riff.

An energetic Come Back To Sorrento has a talented but unidentified tenor saxophonist backed by a suitably blaring brass section. Dark Eyes moves along at a cantering pace, with a jolly piano solo from Milt Raskin. But like the other albums in this series, this Barnet/Kenton cocktail begs the question of whether (or not) it was “needed” in the first (or second) place. Answers on an old-fashioned post card, please.

See the opening paragraphs of Maxwell Davis: A Tribute To The Big Bands – Duke Ellington & Count Basie for some general background on the Maxwell Davis tribute series.

(1) [A Tribute To Charlie Barnet] Cherokee; Pompton Turnpike; Charleston Alley; Really? Charlie’s Other Aunt; Redskin Rhumba; Skyliner; East Side, West Side; Lonely Street; Claude Reigns; [Salute Stan Kenton] (2) Artistry In Rhythm; The Peanut Vendor; Estrellita; Intermission Riff; Come Back To Sorrento; Dark Eyes; Martha; Elegy (58.14)
(1) Bob Clark, Don Fagerquist, Ray Linn, Al Porcino, Zeke Zarchy, Maurice Harris (t); Dick Nash, Murray McEachern, Dick Taylor, Tommy Pederson, Milt Bernhart, Dick Noel (tb); Bob Jung (as); Arthurs “Skeets” Herfurt (as, ss); Teddy Lee (as, ts); Plas Johnson, Fred Fallensby (ts); Bob Dawes (bar); Claude Williamson (p); Allen Reuss, Al Hendrickson (g); Phil Stephens (b); Dick Shanahan (d); Bunny Briggs (v). Hollywood, CA, 19 & 23 December 1958.
(2) Conte Candoli, Pete Candoli, Conrad Gozzo, Ollie Mitchell, Al Porcino (t); Milt Bernhart, Frank Rosolino, John Haliburton, Bob Fitzpatrick (tb); Mahlon Clark (cl, as); Bud Shank (as); Vido Musso, Bob Cooper, Bill Holman (ts); Chuck Gentry (bar); Milt Raskin (p); Laurindo Almeida (g); Don Bagley (b); Mel Lewis (d); Chico Guerrero (cga). Hollywood. 17 & 18 November 1958.
Fresh Sound FSR-CD 1053