Grant Green was just established as a leader by 1961 when these recordings were made, but this is not the typical Blue Note date that stamped his individuality in following years. Though Green is credited as the leader, those responsibilities are accepted by tenor saxophonist Frank Haynes, one of the most obscure but tastiest players on his instrument this side of Joe Henderson and Stanley Turrentine. The cool, spacious, thoughtful and unhurried sound of Haynes dominates this recording, as Green barely comes up for air on solos or the occasional joint melody line. Billy Gardner, better known as an organist, plays beautifully and with feeling on the piano, while bassist Ben Tucker and the great drummer Dave Bailey team up to provide the perfect, steady rhythmic foundation so essential to great mainstream jazz expressionism. Detroiter Rudy Stevenson consistently contributed to Green's repertoire, and here he delivers the title selection, a steady, subtle bop line, while Gardner wrote "One for Elena," another bop tune for Haynes and his understated demeanor, with Green's signature single-note staccato style emerging on his solo. Tucker -- always a solid musician -- contributes the compositions "A Flick of a Trick" and "Baby, You Should Know It," the former an easy swinging blues based jazz tune with Gardner's rumbling piano and a plus-plus solo, while the latter is a famous soul-jazz classic, vocalized in later years, but here a nice, long groove tune where Haynes and Green play in tandem. Harold Vick's "Our Miss Brooks" became a staple of Green's repertoire after this session, here it is rendered in a slow grinding blues base, with Green's one-note accents and simple rhythm guitar buoyancy. In only one instance, Green leads out for "Falling in Love with Love" as his true colors and personalized vibe shines. There are much longer master first takes on the CD reissue of "Reaching Out," "Our Miss Brooks," and "One for Elena." As most of Grant Green's best work is on the Blue Note label, these developmental sessions constitute a fledgling effort, easily treasured by his fans. It is also a high-water mark for Haynes, who sadly passed away only four years after this album was made.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos