Elliot Lawrence, who led a swing-oriented big band after the swing era had already passed its prime, primarily worked in the studios in the 1950s. This reissue from the Original Jazz Classics series (which has not yet surfaced on CD) was one of Lawrence's few jazz dates of the decade. Utilizing a dozen Gerry Mulligan charts (seven of the songs were also composed by Mulligan) and an all-star crew of young modernists (including trumpeter Nick Travis, trombonist Eddie Bert, altoist Hal McKusick, and Al Cohn on tenor), the results are quite pleasing. Although Mulligan himself does not play, his presence is very much felt on songs such as "The Rocker," "Bweebida Bwobbida," "Strike Up the Band," and "Apple Core." Other highlights include tributes to Zoot Sims ("The Swinging Door") and Lester Young ("Mr. President").
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow