Now available as part of both Pacific Jazz' four-disc Complete Blue Note-Pacific Jazz collection and Blue Note's two-disc Memorial title, the tracks on Alternate Takes were out of circulation for a long time, originally having only been available on record and cassette. For fans already stocked up on original Clifford Brown albums with no need of these elaborate reissues, Blue Note should consider reissuing the original Alternate Takes package. Unlike quite a few filler records, jazz or otherwise, this release offers up a consistent program of top-drawer performances. Besides pleasing completists, the cuts stand equal to many of the original takes, particularly in the case of versions of "Cookin'," "Carvin' the Rock" (two alternate takes are included), and especially Quincy Jones' "Wail Bait" (this last side not only contains one of Brown's most impressive solos, but one of Gigi Gryce's best arrangements as well). Also included, a bristling bebop treatment of "Get Happy" and lone takes (at least the only surviving takes) of pianist Elmo Hope's "Bellarosa" and the trumpeter's own "Brownie Eyes." Along with a rich sampling of Brown's rippling, golden-toned solos, the collection also features the fine work of Hope, the underrated alto saxophonist and composer Gigi Gryce, tenor saxophonist and future Monk stalwart Charlie Rouse, trombonist J.J. Johnson, and drummer Art Blakey, among other bop luminaries. Definitely worth searching the used bins for.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook