The first of two Vee Jay label dates by the acclaimed modern jazz bassist Paul Chambers is a fine exercise in hard bop, split between showcasing his compositions and famous standards. Alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard are on the front line, perhaps for the only time in their storied careers, and work well for the most part. Pianist Wynton Kelly and either drummers Philly Joe Jones or Jimmy Cobb complete the quintets. The advantage in buying this reissue is that the second CD is comprised exclusively of outtakes from the originally issued tracks, and many of them have extended solos. Of the covers, "There Is No Greater Love" features a chuckling and cajoling Adderley, very happy for the fortune smiling on him, while "Just Friends" has the two horns playing this chestnut pretty much straight, with counterpointed stop-start techniques chirping at the rhythm section, and a young Hubbard offering his best solo. "I Got Rhythm" brings Cobb to the team, as a modal base from Kelly and Chambers buoys the wailing horns. Of the originals, Hubbard and Adderley sound mismatched on the 6/8 to 3/4 calypso-swing "Julie Ann," where their harmonics don't quite synch up. Their teamwork pays off royally during "I Heard That" and the classic hard bopper with Cobb "Ease It," where the tempo persists, but the horns grow quieter and quieter in mezzo piano range to near nothingness -- the epitome of cool. There's another classic here, as "Awful Mean" is emotionally neither, but instead cures Adderley's brief once-through melody statement into a vintage shuffle. The alternate take of this one is two-and-a-half minutes longer. "I Heard That" is called a "remake" though the original is just fine, and the second "remake" of the ballad "Dear Ann" (one of three attempts included) extends Chambers on his arco bowed bass melody, both pieces adding a ramped uptempo. This recording and 1st Bassman offer different aspects of Chambers as a leader, with the latter album having him take on more responsibility as a lead melodicist. After having played with the game changing bands of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, Chambers died far too young ten years hence in January of 1969, but left behind a memorable 15-year legacy, well represented by this recording where he was in his early prime.
AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2