Vibraphonist Joe Locke offers a fresh look at works by Henry Mancini on this release, as he leads a powerhouse quartet that includes pianist Billy Childs, bassist Eddie Gomez, and drummer Gene Jackson. His dramatic and spacious treatment of one of Mancini's most beloved works, "Moon River," gives the oft-recorded song a very new sound, while another frequently played number, "Days of Wine and Roses," begins with a dreamy introduction before progressing into a head-shaking hard bop arrangement. "Charade" is another well-loved movie theme that gets a thorough revamping; in Billy Childs' chart the piano alternates between a swirling line that contrasts with the leader as he plays its theme with a straight-ahead bop segment. But the group is not content just to stick to Mancini's best-known songs; "Loss of Love" is a straight-ahead ballad nailed on the first take, while "Whistling Away the Dark" showcases Eddie Gomez's lovely arco bass. When one combines great compositions and inventive, talented musicians such as the member of the Joe Locke Quartet, the results have to be highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden