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The Bunny Berigan and Red McKenzie Story (Asia Edition)

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Album Review

Having made a name for himself in the bands of Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, trumpeter Bunny Berigan set out on his own in 1937. Heading up a big band that included such shifting personnel as drummer Buddy Rich, tenor saxophonist George Auld, trumpeter/arranger Ray Conniff, and pianist Joe Bushkin, Berigan blazed brightly and briefly, until alcoholism and a lack of discipline forced him to break up his band in 1939. This Classics disc features tracks cut before things went south. Covering the years 1937-1938, the 20 sides find Berigan and company in their prime, with sparkling solos coming from Berigan, Auld, Conniff, and Bushkin. While the disc sags a bit with some requisite filler by vocalist Ruth Gaylor, instrumental highlights like "Wacky Dust" (a possible cocaine-reference here?), Ellington's "Azure," and Irving Berlin's "Russian Lullaby" ensure this batch of mostly solid swingers stays fresh.


Born: 02 November 1908 in Hilbert, WI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s

Bunny Berigan enjoyed a relatively brief period of fame, lasting from 1931 through 1939 -- for the first half of those eight years a rapidly rising name within the music business, and for the second as a star before the public, featured in the bands he played in and leading his own outfit. And from 1935 through 1939, he was regarded as the top trumpeter in jazz (with his main competition being Louis Armstrong and Roy Eldridge). Yet despite the brevity of his career and his all-too-short life, he...
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The Bunny Berigan and Red McKenzie Story (Asia Edition), Bunny Berigan
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