Bassist Eldee Young and drummer Issac Red Holt were founding members of the hugely successful Ramsey Lewis Trio in 1956, and made their first sessions as leaders with the two fine albums included here.
Recorded in Chicago in December 1961, they feature two warmly delivered sets of originals and standards. As he shows in Just for Kicks, Young was a competent bassist, direct and forceful, with a pleasing flair for lighthearted drama. This dates prime musical asset is, perhaps, altoist and flutist Leo Wright, who plays well throughout, and stunningly (on alto) on Cry Me a River. Young also plays soul cello on several numbers, providing moments of real beauty as flute and cello blend. Under the blunderbuss performances of Young and Wright, pianist Mal Waldron keeps much of his work simple and basic, always to the point.
On Holts Look Out!! Look Out!! the Ramsey Lewis trio is intact, augmented by the almost barrel-house trombonist Floyd Marvin on Riders, and by altoist Wallace Burton and guitarist Roland Faulkner on the rest of the album, excluding both drum-and-bass Look Out tunes. Burton shows flawless intonation and instinctively good phrasing, while Faulkner is strongly blues-rooted on a session swung hard by the rhythm section, with Ramsey Lewis adding his solo strength consistently to the mix.