In 1961, trumpeter Buck Clayton toured Europe with an octet filled with swing-era veterans, many formerly with the Count Basie Orchestra: trumpeter Emmett Berry, trombonist Dickie Wells, altoist Earle Warren, tenor saxophonist Buddy Tate, pianist Sir Charles Thompson, bassist Gene Ramey and drummer Oliver Jackson. This 1997 CD features the all-star band at a typical concert that was broadcast over the radio in Switzerland. Although mainstream swing was way out of style by 1961 (a period when the John Coltrane Quartet was becoming very influential, not to mention hard bop and soul-jazz), many of the swing-era stars were still in their musical prime; Clayton was still only 49. On the well-recorded set, the group jams through such numbers as Buck's catchy "Swinging at the Coppers' Rail," "Robbins' Nest," "Swingin' the Blues" and "St. Louis Blues" with spirit and consistently inventive ideas. Although Wells was a little past his peak, his statements are full of color and wit, and it is a pleasure to hear the contrasting trumpets of Clayton and Berry soloing on the same songs.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow