Anybody expecting this album to be anything like the recently recorded Blue Note ones will be disappointed on first acquaintance with this disc,being originally recorded in 1967, and showing all the virtuoso stylings that Martino was striving to put together into a coherent whole.Nonetheless, one of the good features of these RVG re-issues is that there is a reappraisal of the material written at the time of remastering, and in the notes by Dave McElfresh he points out that several of the stylings are dated, most notably the cha-cha rhythm of "Once I loved", but the individual trademarks that have made Martino such a fluent player are already starting to shine through. Trudy Pitts isn't an organist who is intrusive when recording as a sidesperson,preferring to sit back on most of the tracks, whilst Danny Turner adds interesting flute parts to several of the tracks,giving it a very mid 60's feel, compounded by the two extra percussionists.
My favourite tracks are the extended "Blues for Mickey-O" (a tribute to his Dad apparently) and "Waltz for Geri" which lays out a guitar solo nearly four minutes long. There's also a bonus track "Song for my Mother" which didn't appear on the orginal album. So whilst not as essential in his portfolio of work as, say, "Tribute to Wes Montgomery" it's an excellent example of early work, and of course gives another chance to hear the much collected title track "El Hombre"