This Fresh Sound CD compiles three separate broadcasts by the Jimmy Giuffre 3. The first three songs come from a 1957 appearance on the Stars of Jazz television show, featuring guitarist Jim Hall and bassist Ralph Pena. Giuffre plays baritone sax in his slippery "Gotta Dance," switching to tenor sax for a blistering take of "Four Brothers" and clarinet for his subtle yet spacious "Two Kind of Blues." Valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer had taken Pena's place in the group by the time of the trio's return to the program the following year, which resulted in a great deal more freedom, as there was less emphasis on a pure timekeeping role for any one musician. The resulting interplay between the three men is consistently amazing. "Pony Express (Western Suite)" starts with a bit of a loping theme, though it quickly moves into a spacy setting that challenges the listener to predict its direction. The last five tracks come from a set at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, with a slight drop in sound quality, likely due to flaws within the source material. Giuffre once again alternates between all of his instruments, with Brookmeyer moving over to piano for his one original, "Waltz." But "The Train and the River," one of the best-known pieces associated with the Jimmy Giuffre 3, is easily the most exciting performance within this compilation.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden