Although Lonehill Jazz issued this CD reissue compilation of Jazz Studio, Vol. 5 and Jazz Studio, Vol. 6 as the third volume of their John Graas series, be aware that the late French horn player does not appear on either of these sessions. The first five tracks feature an orchestra led and arranged by pianist Ralph Burns. Unlike some dates in the series which feature long blowing sessions, Burns puts a lot more emphasis on ensemble work, though there is time allocated for solos. The leader's "Cool Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" is not overly complex but swings nicely, while the richly textured treatment of "I'll Be Around" features trumpeter Joe Newman. His unusual scoring of "Royal Garden Blues" updates the old warhorse into a bop setting and has an unusual exchange between Herbie Mann (on piccolo) and Bill Barber (tuba). The remainder of the disc comes from Jazz Studio, Vol. 6, a series of sessions jointly led by French horn player David Amram (who doubles on tuba and piano) and tenor saxophonist George Barrow, with bassist Arthur Phipps and drummer Al Harewood rounding out the quartet. The blend of tenor sax and French horn make for a lush introduction to "Darn That Dream," with Amram immediately switching to piano afterward. Amram's adaptation of the old folk song "Shenandoah" is another memorable track, while the bassist contributed the snappy bop vehicle "Phipps Quipps." Both of these Decca albums were unavailable for decades, but this CD compilation is well worth acquiring.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden