Don Menza emerges as the main star of East Side Suite, taking four tenor solos, as well as "My One And Only Love" as a ballad feature, and contributing arragements for three pieces plus "Tenor Time," this sax battle with Ken Hitchcock. Drummer Louie Bellson also has a strong role on his big band CD and has three full-fledged solos, including breaks on "Blues For Uncommon Kids," that serve as transitions for the shifts between three different tempos. Flugelhornist Clark Terry is in his usual spirited form during his two guest appearances. The title suite's three parts were based on sketches of Bellson's that Tommy Newsom developed for the 17-piece orchestra, paying tribute to three aspects of New York City. The suite and the six shorter pieces hold one's interest throughout, and although somewhat conventional, this is one of Louie Bellson's most satisfying big-band releases.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow