Charlie Barnet: Skyliner




Charlie Barnet (alto sax, tenor sax, soprano sax)


Swingmatism (GRP 9952)

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Charlie Barnet (alto sax, tenor sax, soprano sax),

Peanuts Holland, Lyman Vunk, John Martel, Jack Mootz (trumpets), Gerald Foster, Dave Hallet, Burt Johnson, Charles Coolidge (trombones), Charlie Barnet, Hal Herzon, Joe Meissner, Kurt Bloom, Ed Pripps, Bob Poland (reeds), Dodo Marmarosa (piano), Barney Kessel (g), Howard Rumsey (bass), Harold Hahn (drums).


Composed by Charlie Barnet. Arranged by Billy Moore


Recorded: Los Angeles, August 3, 1944


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Charlie Barnet’s dual-themed “Skyliner” emulates the sound of a fast-moving modern express train, with the jabbing brass line characterizing the train’s rhythm in its undercarriage and the elegant long lines of the saxes representing the sleek aerodynamic outer design. Musically, it may also be the inspiration for Ray Wetzel’s triple-themed composition “Intermission Riff” as performed by the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Billy Moore’s arrangement focuses on the ensemble, and he makes small but significant changes in the piece to maintain the listener’s attention. Note that the pyramid chord tag of the first two A sections is replaced the third time around with a variation (beautifully played by the Barnet trumpet section). When the A section returns, the brass play a simplified but effective variation of their original line. Then the trombones play a fine set of exchanges with Barnet’s solo thoughts. The second bridge with the brass playing yet another variation against Dodo Marmarosa’s piano solo is, for me, the highlight of the entire record. The rhythm section is a model of Swing Era cohesion, yet within a couple of years three members of that section would be working within a new model with a new set of rules: bebop.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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