This single CD put out by the Japanese Denon label has 23 of the 27 selections put out a decade earlier on a two-LP set. Worse than the omissions was the decision to duplicate the liner notes and reprint them so small as to be microscopic. The first half of this set is actually quite good, featuring trumpeter Howard McGhee jamming with a talented sextet that co-stars altoist Jimmy Heath and vibraphonist Milt Jackson and with another group that has solo space for Billy Eckstine on his surprisingly effective valve trombone. The remainder of the CD is much weaker, music recorded in Guam by McGhee, trombonist J.J. Johnson and tenor saxophonist Rudy Williams with a pianoless rhythm trio. Guitarist Skeeter Best is not strong enough to make up for the lack of a piano and some of the repertoire (including an attempt at a brief history-of-jazz) does not work that well. It is best to hold on to the original two-LP set. Otherwise, this CD is mostly recommended for the two earlier dates.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow
feat: Jimmy McHugh