Often in the early days of the modern jazz movement, players would come up with the most dazzling tempos, complex chord changes, intricate melodies, and tricky rhythmic breaks imaginable, as much to challenge themselves as to keep the squares from trying to get on the bandstand and jam. For Musicians Only is just that, and then some. Gillespie, the great virtuoso trumpeter, is joined on the front line by Stan Getz and Sonny Stitt for a blowing session of phenomenal proportions. Gillespie's demanding tune "Bebop," and Denzil Best's "Wee (Allen's Alley)" (based on "I Got Rhythm") are given brisk, wailing treatments. Both tunes highlight Stitt's scampering alto, Getz's dancing, mentholated tenor (very much in his Lester Young mode), and Gillespie's coiled, tempestuous trumpet. The tough, swinging rhythm section really distinguishes itself on the standards "Dark Eyes" and "Lover Come Back to Me" (particularly bassist Ray Brown). They always manage to keep a hint of the basic tune in the foreground, no matter how free the soloists get. Gillespie is inspired throughout, and For Musicians Only contains some of his spunkiest, most pugnacious solos.
AllMusic Review by AllMusic