This album, originally released by Epic, features trombonist-arranger Slide Hampton's augmented octet but it was overlooked when it was released in 1962 despite the all-star personnel. Hampton's arrangements are forward-looking hard bop and among the key soloists are tenor saxophonist Yusef Lateef (who is heard throughout in top form), drummer Max Roach and Hampton himself. The five-part "Drum Suite" is the most ambitious work but all of the arrangements have their unexpected moments, and Hampton's playing on an up-tempo "It's All Right with Me" is outstanding. This limited-edition Mosaic release, just a single CD, augments the original set with a version of "Well You Needn't" that was only out previously on an obscure sampler, plus a previously unreleased "Sleigh Ride" from the same dates. Overall the music is rewarding and if not quite essential, there are enough exciting moments (whether from the ensembles or the main soloists) to make this a recommended acquisition.
Drum Suite Review
by Scott Yanow