Recorded live with brief and unobtrusive emceeing in 1949 at the Empire in Hollywood, CA, this remarkably satisfying album of West Coast cool bop is so exceptional that anyone who gives a rip about honest jazz is advised to seek it out and soak it up. This disc contains what is quite possibly some of the very best music ever recorded by saxophonist Georgie Auld. A veteran of bands led by Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw, Jan Savitt and Benny Goodman, Auld led his own big band from 1943 to 1946. The ten-piece group heard live at the Empire in 1949 used arrangements by Neal Hefti, Billy Byers and Gerry Mulligan, who blew his baritone sax alongside reedmen Georgie Auld, Pete Terry and Clint Neagley, trumpeter Neal Hefti and tenor trombonist Billy Byers. The rhythm section consisted of pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Joe Mondragon, drummer Alvin Stoller and Karl Kiffe on bongos. This band was only together for a very short period of time; posterity is fortunate to have access to such an excellent example of their collective artistry. Everything about this recording is positive, uplifting, solid and stimulating.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf