Bill Massey, Johnny Coles (tp), J.J. Johnson, Matthew Gee, Lino Murray (tb), Gene Ammons (ts), Sonny Stitt, Mac Easton (bs), Junior Mance, John Houston (p), Gene Wright, Ernie Shepard (b), Wesley Landers, Teddy Stewart, Bob Wilson (d)
Reference: OCM CD 016
Bar code: 8435086700162
An extraordinary tenor sax that became extremely popular among musicians and Jazz fans due to his powerful sound, unlimited invention and lyrical ballad art. Every recording compiled in this CD was originally made between 1950-1953 for United / Chess plus a rare 4-song session for Decca, includes the enjoyable backup of Sonny Stitt, J.J. Johnson, Johnny Coles and Junior Mance. An example of Ammons' evolution in the search of his definitive identity, the same that had an enormous influence on R&B, Soul & Funk fields.
01. Tenor Eleven 2:56
02. Goodbye 3:42
03. You Go To My Head 3:01
04. My Foolish Heart 2:51
05. Jug Head Ramble 3:13
06. Can Anyone Explain 2:54
07. Don't Do Me Wrong 2:54
08. Prelude To A Kiss 3:02
09. Baby, Won't You Please Say Yes 2:51
10. Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe 2:50
11. You're Not The Kind 2:56
12. I'll Walk Alone 2:47
13. Old Folks 3:16
14. Beezy 2:44
15. Somewhere Along The Way 2:59
16. Just Chips 3:02
17. Street Of Dreams 2:57
18. Good Time Blues 2:54
19. Travellin' Light 2:55
20. Red Top 3:06
21. Fuzzy 3:08
22. Stairway To The Stars 2:47
23. Jim Dawgs 3:03
24. Big Slam (Part I) 4:30
Total time: 73:32 min.
Tracks #1-8: Bill Massey (tp); Matthew Gee (tb); Gene Ammons (ts); Sonys Stitt (bs #5-8), Junior Mance (p); Gene Wright (b); Wesley Landers (d).
Recorded in Chicago, possibly May, 1950
Tracks #9-11: Gene Ammons (ts); Junior Mance (p); Gene Wright (b); Teddy Stewart (d).
Recorded in Chicago, May 3, 1951
Tracks #12-15: Bill Massey (tp); J.J. Johnson (tb); Gene Ammons (ts); Sonny Stitt (bs); John Houston (p); Ernie Shepard (b); Bob Wilson (d).
Recorded in New York, March 24, 1952
Tracks #16-24: Johnny Coles (tp); Lino Murray (tb); Gene Ammons (ts); Mack Easton (ts,bs); John Houston (p); Benny Stubersville (b); George Brown (d); unknown (g). Band vocal on track 20.
Recorded in Chicago, November, 1952 & June, 1953
"This interesting collection includes most of the tracks tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons recorded for Chess and its related labels in the early '50s ("My Foolish Heart" was actually the very first side Chess ever issued) along with a four-song session for Decca Records from 1952. Fans of his later work, when he merged bebop and R&B into what eventually became known as soul-jazz, may be somewhat disappointed by this set, but these tracks really shouldn't be missed. Although Ammons gets into solid bop territory with pieces like "Beezy," the best selections here are the ballads, and "Goodbye," "You Go to My Head," and the title track all exhibit the huge, soulful tone that was Ammons' trademark. This disc may be somewhat hard to find, but two official Chess releases, Early Visions and Young Jug, cover the same territory."
Steve Leggett -All Music Guide