This single-CD reissues all of the music (except for a second take of "Moe, Jr.") formerly on a two-LP set having the same name and catalog number. Before that, the music originally came out on the Prestige album Informal Jazz and the Riverside release Homecoming. The often-overlooked pianist/composer Elmo Hope is heard in three different settings. He first heads a four-song jam session (two swinging originals and a couple of standards) that has lengthy solos from trumpeter Donald Byrd and the contrasting tenors John Coltrane and Hank Mobley, along with fine support from bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Jones. The 1961 dates consist of a sextet outing with trumpeter Blue Mitchell and the tenors of Jimmy Heath and Frank Foster, plus four numbers played with the trio from the album (which has bassist Percy Heath and drummer Philly Joe Jones). Other than a version of "Imagination," all of the selections from 1961 are Hope's intriguing and ultimately logical originals. Excellent music from an underrated great.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow