Quincy Jones has had such strong success in pop music since the mid-'60s that it is easy to forget just how inventive and distinctive a jazz arranger he was during his prime years. This LP features the Quincy Jones Big Band shortly before they sailed to Europe as part of a Harold Arlen show. Surprisingly, none of the selections are Jones originals, and the arrangements were provided by Ernie Wilkins, Bill Potts, Al Cohn, and Ralph Burns. Despite Jones' absence musically (he did conduct the group), the music sounds very much like his work. With such fine soloists as altoist Phil Woods, tenorman Budd Johnson, Les Spann on guitar and flute, Julius Watkins on French horn (on "Everybody's Blues"), trumpeter Art Farmer, and two guest spots for trumpeter Lee Morgan, the music (highlighted by "Lester Leaps In," "Cherokee," and "Air Mail Special") featured a top-notch bop-oriented big band.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow