Recorded between 1951 and 1953, West Coast Sounds was originally issued as two separate volumes on two different labels. The first session, from November 1951, featured Manne with Conte Candoli, Bill Russo, Art Pepper, Bob Cooper, Gene Esposito, and Don Bagley, with Shelly Davis on vocals. The second, in January, had Candoli and Shorty Rogers in the trumpet chairs but subbed out everyone else: Joe Mondragon, Bob Gordon, Frank Patchen, and Jimmy Giuffre rounded out Manne's session, which was almost entirely instrumental (Manne sang on "It Don't Mean a Thing"). These two sets were released on the Dee Gee label as West Coast Sounds. Of the two, the latter is far more interesting with its two trumpets, one saxophone front line. The latter three sessions, recorded between April and December of 1953, were released on Les Koenig's Contemporary label. The first of these featured both Giuffre and Pepper, and bassist Curtis Counce, but this was short-lived. In July, Bud Shank and Joe Mondragon replaced Pepper and Counce. The final session documented here is brass-heavy, and includes Rogers on flugelhorn and Don Fagerquist with Bob Enevoldsen on trombone, as well as Paul Sarmento on tuba. Marty Paich and Mondragon played in the rhythm section with Manne. The material comes from various West Coast and then vernacular jazz sources. The feeling of each date is relaxed and easy, but given the varying soloists and the difference in the rhythm sections, the dynamic feel of these sessions differs widely. Nonetheless, it is West Coast jazz, and the edges are all rounded off, making for a seamless kind of easy singing post bop.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek