The bulk of this CD features the Lionel Hampton Big Band, an exciting orchestra that had roots in swing and was open to the influence of bebop, but also helped set the stage for somewhat exhibitionistic R&B. With a screaming trumpet section that included Jimmy Nottingham, Joe Wilder, and Leo "The Whistler" Shepherd (all who could play first trumpets) and both Arnett Cobb and Johnny Griffin on tenors, along with such soloists as trombonist Booty Wood, pianist Milt Buckner, and Hampton himself, this must have been a very difficult ensemble to defeat in "battle of the bands" contests. Best among the big band selections are "Cobb's Idea," "Adam Blew His Hat," and "Playboy." Also on this easily enjoyable disc are a quintet set that showcases Hampton's vibes and an octet session drawn from the big band that plays four songs, including "Double Talk" and "Jack the Fox Boogie."
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow