While visiting France in 1956, tenor saxophonist Lucky Thompson recorded over a dozen sessions within a span of just four months, with various groups put together by drummer Gerard "Dave" Pochonet. This CD reissue in Verve's Jazz in Paris series combines two different studio dates. Four tracks feature a septet with an unusual lineup that includes bass trombonist Charles Verstraete and baritone saxophonist Michel de Villers and a rhythm section anchored by pianist Martial Solal. The full group blends very well, with excellent solos by each member of the front line, though Thompson's quartet feature, "Lullaby of the Leaves," is marred somewhat by his squeaking reed. The remaining five selections are by a tentet that includes the entire septet, except Henri Renaud takes over on piano. Thompson's lush quartet treatment of "I Should Care" is the highlight of the latter date. The French musicians prove up to the task of working with the visiting American star on both dates, while Thompson is in top form throughout most of the two sessions.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden