Don Byas, one of the top tenor saxophonists of the mid-'40s, permanently moved to Europe in 1946 and was largely forgotten in the U.S. However, he continued playing and recording throughout his European years, and although his records rarely made it to the United States, they sold well in Europe. On this disc Byas, who was still very much in his playing prime in the 1950s, is first featured on three numbers with the swing/Dixieland-oriented group the Saratoga Jazz Hounds, a quintet that co-stars the erratic but exciting trumpeter Guy Longnon. The remainder of the Classics CD puts the focus entirely on Byas, who is joined by four overlapping rhythm sections. Most of the selections are slow-to-medium-tempo ballads that showcase Byas' lush tone and his ability to caress melodies, resulting in a pleasing collection.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow