Long before composer Alec Wilder was heralded universally as a genius, jazz musicians such as Bob Brookmeyer realized the possibilities of his works, many of which have become standards since this 1961 studio date. Brookmeyer is heard on both piano and valve trombone, along with the potent rhythm section of Jim Hall, Bill Crow, and Mel Lewis. Both the brisk waltz "While We're Young" and the understated "The Wrong Blues" feature the leader's inventive piano lines. It shouldn't be surprising that Hall's softly speaking guitar is the perfect complement to Brookmeyer's almost vocal valve trombone, since the two meshed so well together while working in the Jimmy Giuffre Trio just a few years earlier; the feeling they achieve during "That's the Way It Goes" is magical. Brookmeyer's arrangement of Wilder's best-known song, "I'll Be Around" may very well be the best version of this landmark composition on record. The one non-Wilder work is Brookmeyer's "Blues for Alec," a warm tribute to his good friend. Sadly, this LP has languished out of print for far too long, and it is considerably overdue to be reissued on CD.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden