This live set is better than it appears at first glance. The recording quality is excellent and Dexter Gordon (who had recently returned to the U.S. after quite a few years in Europe) is in inspired form, really tearing into his solos with intensity. Trumpeter Joe Newman, who obviously had not played much with Gordon, has to fight to find a place for himself in the ensembles and is sometimes overextended in his solos, but his colorful tone is immediately recognizable. The rhythm section is fine in support with drummer Wilbur Campbell really pushing the group, and pianist Jodie Christian contributing some excellent solos. Not every number is a classic. Newman's feature on "Ode to Billy Joe" is a bit dull, and there are some unfortunate fadeouts, with the two parts of "Body and Soul" being lengthy fragments from Dexter Gordon solos; "The Shadow of Your Smile" is only comprised of Gordon's statement, with "Softly" ending during Newman's spot. However, Dexter Gordon's heated improvisations on "Tangerine" and "Walkin'" are both quite memorable. So, although not essential, this CD is easily recommended to fans.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow