Charlie Ventura: My One and Only Love


My One and Only Love


Charlie Ventura (tenor sax)


Charlie Ventura: 1951-1953 (Chronological Classics)

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Charlie Ventura (tenor sax),

and orchestra led by George Williams


Composed by Guy Wood and Robert Mellin


Recorded: New Orleans, October 12, 1953


Rating: 88/100 (learn more)

This is a song every tenor sax player is expected to know nowadays, but Charlie Ventura was the first tenorist to record it as an instrumental ballad back in 1953. The icky sweet orchestral support on this track has not aged well, but Ventura sounds in top form. His opening melody statement is firm and stately, and very much out of the Coleman Hawkins camp, but his solo makes me think Ventura had been spending his early autumn checking out Stan Getz. The coda, in particular, is exquisite in a Four-Brothers-ish sort of way.

This artist, who was working in a shipyard when he was discovered by Gene Krupa in 1942 and three years later won the Downbeat poll on tenor sax, has been largely forgotten by the current generation of jazz fans. But he was a skilled and versatile soloist—Ventura was one of the first Swing Era stars to embrace bop—and deserves a better fate than benign neglect. Sometime, somewhere, when a tenor saxophonist launches into this song, let it be dedicated to Mr. Ventura.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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