Charlie Ventura

Ventura was a fine swing-oriented tenor-saxophonist. His best-known achievement is his attempt to popularize bebop at the end of the music’s late-’40s boom. Charles Venturo was born to a musically-inclined family. He started his musical career with the C-melody Sax. After switching to alto, he eventually settled on tenor. Ventura quit his job at Philadelphia Navy Yard to join Gene Krupa’s band in 1942. Ventura was a featured soloist in Krupa’s band, performing with the drummer between 1942-1943 and 1944-1946. He also worked as a guitarist/bandleader with Teddy Powell. Ventura gained considerable popularity with Krupa and was awarded the Down Beat magazine award for best tenor-saxophonist of 1945. In 1946, he started his own large band with mixed results. A smaller band with Bennie Green, Bennie Green, Boots Mussulli and drummer Ed Shaughnessy had better success. He also had vocalists Roy Kral and Jackie Cain. Ventura was signed to RCA Victor by small labels, but he continued to record for them before signing to RCA Victor. RCA Victor wanted to capitalize on bebop’s emergence at the time. According to RCA executives, Ventura was told by one that they wanted “bop” as the name of the band. Ventura invented the phrase “Bop for the People”, which meant that the music was accessible to everyone. Ventura started a large band in 1948. However, the group was soon reduced to eight members. Kral and Cain remained as key elements of the band’s sound. Ventura’s attempt to make bop a commercial success failed, even though the Bop for the People group continued to work through 1949. Ventura was a fine player, but he wasn’t really a great bopper. Ventura was part of another large band in the 1950s. He formed the Big Four, a group that became wildly popular with drummer Buddy Rich and bassist Chubby Jones, as well as Marty Napoleon, pianist and drummer. He also briefly owned a nightclub in Philadelphia and worked with Cain and Kral. Ventura was not in good health, but he continued to work alongside Krupa until the 1960s. Ventura only recorded commercially once after the ’50s (in 1977 with John Bunch, for the Famous Door label). He was still active. He was active in Las Vegas, where he worked with comedian Jackie Gleason. He also fronted several groups in the ’70s u0026 ’80s before succumbing to lung cancer in 1992.

Leave a Comment