A very fine session indeed. Stanley was always a boss man on the tenor and here he is joined by a like spirit in Les McCann. The session came about when McCann, normally based on the West Coast, was visiting New York, Stanley's normal base, and somebody had the very good idea of getting the two together. This disc, and another on Pacific Jazz under McCann's name, was the outcome.
Stanley was up to his usual form, which means the disc contains some of the best tenor sax around at the time. He was always a superb blues player with a full tone, but with a hard edge on top, and one of the best ballad players around, with a tone that softened, but had plenty of strength. On a rocking slow or medium blues he had limitless invention. Lots of players learn to play the blues but Stanley never needed to, it was just there.
McCann had a bit of a patchy career. He could, when he wanted, be a fine rhythmic, swinging pianist, but often,what he produced was ersatz soul and funk, obviously aiming for the Ramsey Lewis market. Well, worry not, because this time the good angel McCann appears, and fine swinging bluesy piano is the result.
The rhythm section let nobody down. Herbie Lewis on bass is a powerful swinging bassist, ideally suited to this music, and the little known Otis Finch is a swinging uncomplicated drummer. As a matter of interest, Lewis had just left McCann's trio and Finch was about to join Shirley Scott's group. Shirley Scott was Mrs. Turrentine, so it all sounded cosy if not downright incestuous.
The tunes are all blues apart from one beautiful ballad 'Dorene' but there is plenty of variety, and above all miles and miles of boss tenor. You wouldn't want to miss that, would you? For me, it's not quite up to the sessions with Horace Parlan, but slightly better than the meeting with the Three Sounds, because it's just that bit tougher.