Elliot Lawrence leads a swinging big band at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, though evidently without an audience present, as there is absolutely no hint of reaction to the exciting music. Although the cover emphasizes the arrangements and compositions of Al Cohn (who also plays tenor sax on the album), there are also swinging charts by Johnny Mandel ("Ponce" and "Tenderly"), Tiny Kahn ("Maybe" and "Walkin' My Baby Back Home"), and Gerry Mulligan ("Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea"). Several of Cohn's several originals, including the demanding "Snapped Cap" and the cheerful "El's Bells," are among the many highlights. Every track is a delight, with many fine solos by Cohn, trumpeter Nick Travis, alto saxophonist Hal McKusick, tenor saxophonist Eddie Wasserman, and trombonist Eddie Bert. Long out of print, this red-vinyl Fantasy LP will be very difficult to acquire.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden