A glance at this CD's cover might cause collectors to have a double take for it looks similar to the original A Night at Birdland album by Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers from the mid-'50s. The Birdland in this case is a jazz club in Hamburg, Germany and the music is not hard bop but hard-driving swing. The excellent young tenor Harry Allen is heard leading a quintet that also includes trumpeter Randy Sandke, pianist Brian Dee, bassist Len Skeat and (in one of his final sessions) drummer Oliver Jackson. Allen has an attractive and passionate tone and is heard in excellent form throughout the nine standards; he and Sandke make for a very effective team. A rewarding release (as is the second volume) from the German Nagel-Heyer label.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow