Although altoist Jackie McLean's Prestige recordings of the 1950s are not as significant as those on Blue Note from the '60s, he did record quite a bit of enjoyable hard bop material during this era. This LP is unusual for, in addition to a conventional quintet (with trumpeter Bill Hardman, pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Art Taylor), the young tuba player Ray Draper is heard on three of the five group originals. Draper played his instrument as part of the frontline rather than in the rhythm section, and even if he was not on the level of McLean and Hardman, he gives some needed color to this set. Waldron, who contributed two of the five selections (the others are by McLean, Watkins, or Draper) really sets the melancholy mood for much of the music and is an important force behind the scenes. An interesting effort.
Jackie McLean and Co. Review
by Scott Yanow