5***** by All Music Guide
1. Tommy Hawk (J.Mandel)- 2:57
2. Lydian Lullaby (G.Russell)- 4:57
3. Blues For Pablo (G.Evans)- 4:54
4. Just Leave It Alone (J.Giuffre)- 4:22
5. Miss Clara (G.Russell)- 4:06
6. Alto Cumulus (M.Albam)- 3:00
7.The John Brown Was Hanged (G.Russell)- 7:56
8. One Score and Eight Horns Ago (J.Giuffre)- 3:25
9.Ain't Nothin' But a Memory Now (A.Cohn)- 3:32
10.Jambangle (G.Evans)- 4:08
11.The Blues Train (J.Guiffre)- 4:17
Recorded in 1956
HAL McKUSICK Quartet on tracks 2, 7 and 9. NYC, March 3, 1956.
Hal McKusick (as), Barry Galbraith (g), Milt Hinton (b), Osie Johnson (d)
HAL McKUSICK Octet on tracks 3, 6 and 10. NYC, April 3, 1956.
Art Farmer (tp), Jimmy Cleveland (tr), Hal McKusick (as), Gene Allen (bs), Barry Galbraith (g), Jimmy Raney (rhythm g), Milt Hinton (b), Osie Johnson (d), George Russell (tambourine)
HAL McKUSICK Septet on tracks 1, 5 and 8. NYC, April 4, 1956.
Art Farmer (tp), Jimmy Cleveland (tr), Hal McKusick (as), Gene Allen (bs), Barry Galbraith (g), Milt Hinton (b), Osie Johnson (d)
HAL McKUSICK Quintet on tracks 4 and 11. NYC, December 31, 1956.
Art Farmer (tp), Hal McKusick (as), Barry Galbraith (g), Teddy Kotick (b), Osie Johnson (d)
"The cool-toned altoist Hal McKusick was a flexible, if not all that distinctive soloist. He is heard in four settings on this British LP, ranging from a pianoless quartet to a quintet and an octet. Among the supporting cast are trumpeter Art Farmer, guitarist Barry Galbraith, and trombonist Jimmy Cleveland. George Russell (who plays drums on one number) contributed three songs, and the other composers are a who's who of the era: Johnny Mandel, Gil Evans (a version of "Blues for Pablo" that predates Miles Davis' from Miles Ahead), Jimmy Giuffre, Manny Albam, and Al Cohn. Fine modern mainstream music from the mid-'50s, although this album may be difficult to find."
Scott Yanow (AMG)