At 75, Buddy DeFranco still had all of his highly developed dexterity on the clarinet, and he still liked a challenge. So here, he can be heard with just the piano of Dave McKenna and the electric guitar of Joe Cohn in a swing-to-bop-flavored collection of ten standards and two DeFranco originals. A rare combination, to be sure, but one that poses no problems for these sensitive virtuosos, who listen to each other carefully and ground many of the numbers in a solid 4/4 swing foundation. Either McKenna or Cohn provide the basslines for the rapid numbers; McKenna's contrary-motion lines on DeFranco's rapid snapshot of Charlie Parker, "Skinnin' Rabbits," is remarkably deft. Ellington and alter ego Strayhorn are right at the center of the album with three consecutive numbers, "Something to Live For," "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me," and "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing" (McKenna deceptively opens the latter with Edward MacDowell's "To a Wild Rose"). On the last two tunes, "Gone with the Wind" and "Easy Living," Cohn drops out entirely and McKenna's playing takes on a fuller, more swinging cast in the former tune.
AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell