The Four Most Guitars is actually a compilation of three separate groups recorded especially for this Paramount LP from the mid-'50s. The first guitarist, Jimmy Raney, is heard on four tracks with trumpeter John Wilson, pianist Hall Overton, bassist Teddy Kotick, and drummer Nick Stabulas. Raney composed two originals, including the snappy bop vehicles "Two Drams of Soma" and "Scholar's Mate" (the latter referring to being checkmated in chess in just four moves), along with intricate arrangements of the standards "Gone with the Wind" and "Yesterdays." Guitarists Russ Garcia and Joe Puma play together on four tracks with bassist Dante Martucci and drummer Al Levitt. Without a pianist or horn, their collaboration is a more easygoing affair, though no less enjoyable. Finally, Chuck Wayne is accompanied by pianist Dave McKenna, bassist Oscar Pettiford, altoist Dave Schildkraut, and drummer Sonny Igoe on three songs. The interplay between Wayne and Schildkraut is delightful in the uptempo setting of "If I Ever Love Again." Like many Paramount albums, this LP has long been a collectible and seems to be an unlikely candidate for reissue.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden