The music on this 1997 CD, which features Buddy Rich's first big band, is worthwhile, but the packaging is lousy. There are barely 32 minutes worth of music; the brief liner notes incorrectly state that Ella Fitzgerald is heard (the one V-Disc she made with Rich is not included), and there is no mention of who is actually on these performances or when they were recorded. Since the drummer only made 13 or 14 V-Discs (which would have totaled around at the most 48 minutes), it is inexcusable that only nine are on this CD. "Quiet Riot" and "A Little Handicap" feature Rich's 1946 orchestra, which was mostly a no-name big band. Four cuts are from April 1947, and although the personnel is not known, the trumpet soloist sounds a bit like Red Rodney (who was with Rich for a time). The later numbers include trumpeter Tommy Allison and Allen Eager on tenor; Linda Larkin takes the vocal on "What Is This Thing Called Love." The music, which is boppish in spots and has plenty of Buddy Rich's forceful drumming, deserved much better treatment than this hodgepodge collection.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow