Angel Eyes

Gene Ammons

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Angel Eyes Review

by Scott Yanow

Music from two different occasions are combined on this CD reissue. The four songs from 1960 match the great tenor Gene Ammons with Frank Wess (doubling on flute and tenor), organist Johnny "Hammond" Smith, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Art Taylor. Wess, one of jazz's great flutists, battles Ammons on tenor to a draw on "Water Jug," while the leader takes "Angel Eyes" as his memorable feature. In addition, Ammons is heard in 1962 with pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Wendell Marshall, and drummer Ed Thigpen playing with great warmth on the ballads "You Go to My Head" and "It's the Talk of the Town." The latter set was one of Ammons' final ones before serving a long prison sentence (drug-related), yet his interpretations are full of optimism. Recommended.

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