Tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin joined alto and soprano saxophonist Pony Poindexter in 1963 on Gumbo, based around the sights and sounds of Poindexter's birthplace, the Crescent City. Poindexter penned the majority of these compositions, providing them with evocative titles of the city: "Creole Girl," "French Market," and "Gumbo Filet." Gumbo finds Ervin playing more straight-ahead than on his exploratory "Book" sessions, which he had begun recording under his name by this time. The rhythm section on the first 12 cuts include Gildo Mahones on piano, George Tucker on bass, and Jimmie Smith on drums, with trombonist Al Grey making an appearance on four tracks. The remaining four tunes tacked on the CD's conclusion were recorded in January and February 1964, featuring the trio of Ervin, Jerry Thomas on drums, and Larry Young's distinctive Hammond organ virtuosity. "You Don't Know What Love Is" (two takes), "Autumn Leaves," and "Old Folks" had remained unreleased until the appearance of this CD in 1999.
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AllMusic Review by Al Campbell