From the late '40s through the '60s, a popular jazz album format was the "blowing session," in which two or more sax players would sit in with a combo and try to outdo one another. Get the right players together and right vibe going, and the results could be spectacular. This collection presents a nice overview of the development of the blowing session with 11 tracks presented in chronological order, starting with a great five-man session from 1949 featuring Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Allen Eager, and Brew Moore, and ending with a slowly simmering blues match between Sonny Stitt and Booker Ervin, recorded in 1964. But some of the most exciting moments come in between -- Oliver Nelson and Eric Dolphy get completely nuts on the boppish Nelson composition "Alto-Itis," and there is a not-to-be-missed clash between tenor titans Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane on "Tenor Madness." Highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson