This CD reissues one of pianist Dave McKenna's first recordings (which is from 1958, not 1995 as it mistakenly states on the back cover). On what was originally an Epic album, the young McKenna displays a strong technique but a musical personality that had not yet become distinctive. McKenna was surprisingly bop-oriented in the late '50s and was not yet utilizing powerful basslines, so this trio date with bassist John Drew and drummer Osie Johnson is not on the level of his Concords of the 1980s and '90s; only "'Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" gives hints of what is to come. This swinging and reasonably enjoyable set (notable for McKenna's originals "Splendid Splinter" and "Lickety Split") has been greatly expanded by the inclusion of eight alternate takes but is not too essential.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow