Charlie Barnet: Cherokee




Charlie Barnet (tenor sax)


The Only Big Band CD You'll Ever Need (RCA Victor 63661)

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Charlie Barnet (tenor sax),

Bob Burnet, John Mendell, John Owens (trumpet); Ben Hall, Don Ruppersberg, Bill Robertson (trombone); Gene Kinsey, Donald McCook (alto sax); Kurt Bloom (tenor saxes), James Lamare (tenor sax, baritone sax), Bill Miller (piano), Bus Etri (guitar), Phil Stephens (bass), Ray Michaels (drums)


Composed by Ray Noble. Arranged by Billy May


Recorded: New York, July 17, 1939


Rating: 75/100 (learn more)

In becoming a bandleader, millionaire playboy Charlie Barnet defied his family but wound up making more money than as the white-shoe lawyer they'd have preferred. His biggest hit, "Cherokee," would serve as the basis for bebopper Charlie Parkers Ko Ko (1945), but otherwise holds scant historical interest. Evidently meant to evoke the largest Native American tribe through hokey wah-wah and tom-tom effects that were beneath even Hollywood's casual indignity, Billy May's arrangement is little more than tedious commercialism, unredeemed by Barnet's dilettantish saxophone. 1939 was among jazz's greatest years, crammed with classic recordings. "Cherokee" ain't one of them. Don't waste your wampum.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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