Sonny Criss was relatively inactive as a leader in the first half of the 1960s, though he did produce outstanding music during two trips to Paris. The latter visit in 1963 resulted in these studio sessions,
originally released by Brunswick and reissued in complete form (with three unreleased tracks) by Polydor, before reverting to the initial version on this Verve CD reissue. Powered by some of France's finest musicians, including guitarist Rene Thomas, bassist Pierre Michelot, drummer Philippe Combelle and pianist Georges Arvanitas, the hard bop alto saxophonist mixes it up with a set which contains classic jazz compositions, standards and an original. Arvanitas switches to organ for a peppy take of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and Criss' two part blues "Early and Later." But the leader's best solo comes during the smoking interpretation of "On Green Dolphin Street." Arvanitas' introductory vamp to the softly played "God Bless the Child" hints at "One for My Baby (and One for the Road)" before Criss makes his entrance. Highly recommended!