Although primarily known as a smoothly raucous R&B bandleader, Earl Bostic has jazz credentials that go deep, with records that reveal a technique as good as Charlie Parker's. While Parker made history, and the honker "walked the bar," Bostic still deserves kudos for producing some of the most urbane early-'50s jump blues. And, like Art Blakey after him, he should be remembered for mentoring a slew of up-and-coming hard bop stars -- at various times his roster included John Coltrane, Benny Golson, Tommy Turrentine, Blue Mitchell, Stanley Turrentine, and Teddy Charles. In the post-bebop era where jazz combos dominated, many of these musicians might have missed invaluable lessons in ensemble playing and soloing economy that swing era musicians learned routinely in the big band-rich '30s. The outfits of Bostic, King Kolax, and Johnny Otis helped fill the gap, and this particular Bostic album, with its super-tight arrangements and incredible playing, proves the point. Coltrane might not be heard working out an early version of his "sheets of sound," but there's a wealth of top-quality material to be heard. Hits like "Sleep" and "Cherokee" (one of Bostic's best solo vehicles) only make "misses" like the nostalgic, after-hours rendition of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and the heavenly swinging "Night and Day" that much more of a treat. A definite must for fans who like a little pop in their jazz and R&B mix.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook