There are many tragic figures in bebop history, but Fats Navarro's story is even sadder than most. Considered by some to be a better trumpeter than Dizzy Gillespie (Lennie Tristano is reported to have said of Gillespie, "He's a nice trumpet player, but he's no Fats"), Navarro was killed by his heroin addiction at age 26. This disc includes material from five sessions recorded between September of 1946 and December of 1947, when bop was at the height of its popularity and its most important and influential practitioners were still alive. Some of them, in addition to Navarro, are present on these sessions: Bud Powell plays piano on "Boppin' a Riff," "Fat Boy," "Everything's Cool," and his own "Webb City," tracks which also feature Sonny Stitt on alto and Kenny Clarke on drums. Other sessions feature Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis on tenor, frequent Charlie Parker sideman Curley Russell on bass, Charlie Rouse on tenor, and Art Blakey on drums. While the sound quality isn't always great, the performances themselves rarely fall short of greatness, and Navarro's sweet tone and effortlessly beautiful phrasing are a constant pleasure throughout.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson