No Freddie Green either, but that's okay; the four horns carved out from the Count Basie band for this Frank Foster-led date get along just fine with drummer Kenny Clarke, bassist Eddie Jones, and guitarist Kenny Burrell. The set is a companion to Frank Wess' North, South, East...Wess, recorded by the same players at the same sessions. No Count, however, stays closer to Kansas City swing than the Wess release, which attempted, not altogether successfully, to update the sound with some nods to hard bop. Foster's charts provide for lots of interplay and counterpoint between the two trombones and two tenors. This gets around the potential for the similar ranges of the horns to bog down in tonal homogeneity. The natural, yet sophisticated, blues-based swing players spin out long, masterful lines. Trombonists Henry Coker and Bennie Powell are most effective in supporting roles. The rhythm section is what makes this date, though. The poised Clarke balances the blues feeling of the arrangements with a cool bopping, cymbal-driven pulse. Jones, too, is effective, even if he is a bit far down in the mix. Then there's Burrell, who pretty much steals the show, covering for the absent Count and Basie guitarist Freddie Green with some of the finest rhythm work to be heard anywhere. À la the Count, he also takes the occasional brief but impressive solo.
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AllMusic Review by Jim Todd