Herbie Mann

Be-Bop Synthesis

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Originally released in 1957 as Yardbird Suite, this is a great album capturing Herbie Mann in his pre-commercial success days, and featuring a 26-year old Phil Woods on alto sax. Also featured are guitarist Joe Puma and vibist Eddie Costa. If anyone were to ask for proof that Herbie Mann could play straight-ahead bop, this recording would be a good place to start. The thing that really sets this album apart from other Mann outings is his Lester Young-influenced tenor sax playing on two of the tracks. He proves to be a solid improviser on that instrument. But the best solos may belong to Woods, who was really cooking on this session, displaying the Birdisms upon which he would build his reputation as a giant of the alto for decades to come. Mann himself was in top-notch form as well, and this recording has stood the test of time as one of his best.