Reissue with latest 2014 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. A great little set – never issued before, but recorded at the same time as Wilen's classic 1959 album Barney, caught live at the Club St-Germain with a group that includes Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Duke Jordan on piano, Paul Rovere on bass, and Daniel Humair on drums. Like the Barney album, these tracks are fantastic – some of the most open-ended playing that Wilen ever did in the 50s, and proof that his tenor work was some of the best jazz coming out of Europe in the postwar years! All tracks are long – and titles include "Reets & I", "The Best Things In Life Are Free", "All The Things You Are", "Round Midnight", and "Time On My Hands".
Quite an unusual album for trumpeter Howard McGhee – one that has the famous bop trumpeter working in a sweet "with strings" format – ala similar 50s sessions on Verve! Frank Hunter handles the larger group here – working the strings with some nice touches that go way past just sleepy orchestrations – into a realm of playful passages that help coax some quite unfamiliar sounds from Howard's horn! The approach is quite different than some of McGhee's more seminal sides, but is also a great illustration of this under-acknowledge side of his talents – and a voice that definitely seems to echo some of his personal struggles at the time. Titles include "Sonny Boy", "The Thrill Is Gone", "The Best Things In Life Are Free", "Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries", and "My Sin".
"The Three Sounds: Standards" is full of Gene Harris' good-natured, hand-over-hand rolling blues playing. The disc opens with a playful "Makin' Whoopee," a cool juxtaposition between the song subject and the gospel elements of Harris' performance. This is the only "hard" standard of the bunch. The collection is tastefully chosen and includes fine takes of "Cry Me A River," "The Best Things in Life are Free," "Alone Together" and "Goodnight, Ladies." Harris is the star supported ably by Simpkins and Dowdy. While being the premier jazz-blues pianist, Harris' music is never dark or sinister. Gene Harris' music is always about sunshine and brightness.
A fine set. In 1972, yes, this would sound dated, but funny, 35 years later it sounds just fine. Some really nice work throughout, unexpected delights around every corner.