Tenor saxophonist Lucky Thompson recorded enough material as a leader during the first half of 1956 (mostly in Paris) to fill up 12 LPs. This CD has music from two of his rarer sessions, featuring Thompson playing 12 songs (ten of which are his originals) with a French octet that includes pianist Martial Solal and some fine sidemen; these sessions were last available as the Xanadu LP Brown Rose. Thompson's warm tenor is well showcased at a variety of tempoes during the high-quality music. None of the songs caught on but the performances are quite enjoyable. In addition, this CD reissue features altoist Gigi Gryce on six numbers cut in France in 1953 when he was touring with Lionel Hampton's Orchestra; those selections are from the same sessions that resulted in classic recordings by trumpeter Clifford Brown although Brownie (who appears on one of these numbers) is not heard from here. The CD concludes with two selections from the same period featuring the young trumpeter Art Farmer in a sextet/septet with trombonist Jimmy Cleveland and altoist Anthony Ortega. Although not essential, this reissue is easily recommended to collectors of 1950s straightahead jazz.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow