This Contemporary album has thus far only been reissued on LP. Three sessions taken from different periods are included, featuring different versions of the Lighthouse All-Stars. Howard Rumsey's group is heard on their second earliest session (their first was made for the tiny Skylark label), which was also their debut for Contemporary. The band at the time consisted of trumpeter Shorty Rogers, trombonist Milt Bernhart, Jimmy Giuffre and Bob Cooper on tenors, pianist Frank Patchen, bassist/leader Rumsey, and drummer Shelly Manne. In addition to cool jazz numbers, they perform the satirical R&B romp "Big Girl" and (with Carlos Vidal on conga) the rhythmic "Viva Zapata." In addition, the 1953 version of the band (with trumpeter Rolf Ericson, altoist Herb Geller, Cooper, Bud Shank on baritone, pianist Claude Williamson, drummer Max Roach, and Rumsey) has a couple of straight-ahead numbers and a couple of Latin ones. Plus, there are three numbers featuring Cooper on oboe and tenor, Bud Shank on flute and alto, trombonist Frank Rosolino, Williamson, Rumsey, and drummer Stan Levey. Although a bit of a hodgepodge collection, the music is consistently satisfying and shows that there was actually a lot of fire in the best West Coast jazz. An excellent introduction to the Lighthouse All-Stars.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow