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A Sizzling Jazz Classic
on 22 May 2011
This is an album that positively fizzes with energy. The musicianship is impeccable, the material excellent, and the players are among the finest jazz has ever produced. Although a live record, it should be mentioned that the sound quality is as good as anything cut in the studios at that time. One of Wes Montgomery's two or three finest albums, the addition of sizzling saxophonist Johnny Griffin (once legitimately credited as the fastest tenor in jazz) raises the excitement level and seems to really inspire Wes in his improvisations. The album leads off with the title track which is a 3/4 tune that really manages to swing. There is an infectious Montgomery original called Cariba, compelling fast versions of Blue & Boogie, and Wes' S.O.S. as well as a great version of the standard Come Rain Or Come Shine. Of particular interest to guitar lovers is Wes' intimate version of I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face, which he plays in chord-melody style, and for which Griffin sits out. It has a wonderful spanish tinged introduction.
At the time of this recording the rhythm section of Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers & Jimmy Cobb was regarded as one of the finest in jazz, and they give the soloists immaculate and supple support. Wynton Kelly's own piano solos are excellent. All in all this album is a jazz classic, and represents one of the pinnacles of small group hard bop.