This Drive Archive budget CD reissues an Alamac LP, material that has also appeared on the English Spotlite label. Singer Billy Eckstine led one of the first bebop big bands and this set of 1945 broadcasts features such important modernists as trumpeter Fats Navarro, the tenors of Gene Ammons and Budd Johnson, drummer Art Blakey and singer Sarah Vaughan. The arrangements of the instrumentals (particularly "Airmail Special" and "Opus X") are a bit futuristic, Eckstine takes four fine vocals and Sarah Vaughan's two features ("Mean to Me" and "Don't Blame Me") are among her earliest appearances on record. The recording quality overall is just decent but the fire of the music makes these performances worth acquiring (in one form or another) by bop collectors.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow