The Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet was one of the more highly regarded U.K. jazz groups of the 1960s, releasing several studio and live albums between 1964 and 1969. Trumpeter Ian Carr later went on to lead the jazz fusion group Nucleus throughout the 1970s and later became a well-known critic and jazz journalist, writing biographies of Keith Jarrett and Miles Davis and co-authoring The Rough Guide to Jazz. This release is a private recording unearthed in 2007, and interesting -- not only for fans of the Rendell/Carr group but jazz listeners in general -- since the set list is entirely composed of originals by pianist Michael Garrick, other than one piece by Don Rendell and one co-written by Carr and Garrick. Rendell shifts from flute to tenor and soprano saxophone at various points, Carr switches between trumpet and flügelhorn, and there are two different bassists -- the group's regular member, Dave Green, and a sub named Tony Reeves, who acquits himself quite well. The music takes straight-ahead hard bop as its starting point, but quite frequently gets more energetic and adventurous than, say, Blue Note artists of the time were willing to be. Horn solos go far afield from the original melodies, while Garrick's piano is frequently baroque, particularly on the 15-minute "Trane's Mood." These musicians quite ably straddled the line between post-bop and freedom, and this live tape captures the group in full, unfettered form.
AllMusic Review by Phil Freeman