Reference: FSRCD 5010
Bar code: 7619936050107
"Back in the 1950s, Bill Perkins had one of the coolest sounds of all tenors, a soft tone greatly influenced by Lester Young. Through the years Perkins continued to evolve, sometimes developing ideas inspired by John Coltrane while never losing his own musical personality. For this 1995 studio set, Perkins returns to his roots. In a quartet with pianist Jan Lundgren, bassist Dave Carpenter and drummer Paul Kreibich, Perkins performs a variety of classic swing standards in the style of Prez (circa 1936-1942), recreating note-for-note Lester Young solos and then building up improvisations in his own style while stretching but purposely not breaking through the boundaries of swing. Perkins' ability to emulate Young is quite impressive, and his tightrope act between copying the past and coming up with fresh statements is successful.
Jan Lundgren, who normally plays in a boppish style, not only brings back the spirit of Count Basie but that of Johnny Guarnieri and sometimes Duke Ellington too. Drummer Kreibich is tasteful in support and bassist Carpenter contributes several speedy solos. Among the many highlights are "Shoe Shine Boy," "Pound Cake," "Taxi War Dance" and "Easy Does It." The brief closer "I Left My Baby" has guest Jack Sheldon taking the vocal while Perkins (without the rhythm section) plays softly behind him. It is a pity that Lester Young's music from the 1950s is ignored and that Doug Ramsey, in his otherwise worthwhile liner notes, repeats the inaccurate notion that Young's post-war recordings paled next to his earlier ones. But, that minor reservation aside, this is a set that should delight both mainstream and Lester Young fans."
Scott Yanow —All Music Guide