For Louis Hayes' first domestic release in nearly 20 years the veteran drummer assembled a group consisting of tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson, trumpeter Riley Mullins, pianist David Hazeltine, and bassist Santi Debriano, took them into the studio, and recorded this collection of no-nonsense, high energy hard bop. Best known for his stints in the groups of Horace Silver (1956-59) and Cannonball Adderley (1959-65), Hayes is at his cymbal ridin', snare drum poppin' best, and the other musicians are up to the task, with Mullins' go-for-broke, high note filled solos giving Louis at Large much of its flavor. Favorites include the uptempo burners "Check In" written by Mullins and Hayes, and Mullins' "Hen and Hub," dedicated to Hayes' former bandmates Joe Henderson and Freddie Hubbard, the bop blues "Teef," which also appeared on Hayes' self-titled 1960 debut recording, and an uptempo arrangement of the standard "My Old Flame," with a medium tempo bridge throughout. This a welcome return to an American label for Hayes.
AllMusic Review by Greg Turner