This two-LP set contains live performances from the 1961-62 Jazz Messengers (the all-star sextet that included trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, trombonist Curtis Fuller and Wayne Shorter on tenor) in addition to three additional selections from the 1954 Birdland quintet; the latter features the great trumpeter Clifford Brown, altoist Lou Donaldson and pianist Horace Silver. All of the music is up to the level of the originally released recordings and finds Blakey really pushing the two ensembles. While the earlier group jams on "Wee-Dot," "The Way You Look Tonight" and a blues, the early-'60s Messengers mostly play fresh versions of their originals, including "The Promised Land," "Ping Pong" and "Up Jumped Spring." This hard-to-find two-fer is recommended.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow