This is the second part of what sounds like quite a night at New York`s Birdland on Feb 21 1954. How I wish I`d been present - though I would have been only three, so it would`ve been prohibition time for me.
Matters are pretty hectic on most of these tracks, Brown, Blakey, Silver, Donaldson and Russell playing up a storm. It`s so good to hear the late, very great Clifford Brown at his peak - so young and, tragically, so soon to die.
Horace Silver, one of the most distinctive pianists in jazz, contributes some wonderful moments to these two discs, and the alto of Lou Donaldson works a few modest wonders too. Blakey pounds and pulverises his drum kit in urgent, magisterial fashion, and the whole sweltering set is testament to the sheer excitement of jazz on a good day, and this was quite obviously one hell of a good day.
Volume One is perhaps the more varied of the two discs, vol 2 offering no let-up, no hiding place from its frenetic musical rush, all underpinned by Blakey`s assertive percussion, but, taken as a whole, you can`t go wrong with either if you enjoy dynamic jazz played with gusto and panache by five musicians on top form.
Both discs end with a blues, the one here composed by Donaldson, called simply Lou`s Blues. It starts teasingly with a slow riff from Russell`s bass, but very quickly becomes one of the fastest blues I`ve ever heard, thus giving the listener no pause for breath over the whole 52 minutes this album lasts. Thanks, guys.