Louie Bellson

Prime Time

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For this set (reissued on CD), drummer Louie Bellson teamed up with some of his favorite West Coast players of the era: tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb, trumpeter Blue Mitchell, pianist Ross Tompkins, and bassist John Williams, plus, on the last four of the eight numbers, guitarist Bob Bain and percussionist Emil Richards. The first half of the program is essentially straight-ahead bop, including a three-song ballad medley and a rousing "Cotton Tail," while the other four numbers (originals by Bellson, Christlieb, and Mitchell, plus Dizzy Gillespie's "And Then She Stopped") are a little funkier but still swinging. An excellent effort overall, with the tenorman often taking solo honors.

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