Joe Gordon (tp), Richie Kamuca (ts), Russ Freeman, Victor Feldman (p), Monty Budwig, Scott LaFaro (b), Shelly Manne, Stan Levey (d)
Reference: FSRCD 370
Bar code: 8427328603706
This CD is dedicated to two of the most highly regarded jazz musicians of their generation, who, with their great natural talents and technique, helped the development of their respective instruments.
Unfortunately both had short careers, for tragically both died young at the peak of their creativity. The two outstanding jazzmen referred to are trumpeter Joe Gordon and bassist Scott LaFaro and the two sessions included here on this CD are from previously unreleased material, thereby giving them a certain historical significance, although the music itself, apart from the excellent sound quality of the recording, more than justifies their belated issue. For genuine jazz lovers they will represent an essential addition to their collections.
"This compilation might indicate that Joe Gordon and Scott LaFaro appear together on these live recordings made at the Lighthouse, but they are individually featured with two separate groups. Gordon, a fine trumpeter who died far too young, is heard with pianist Russ Freeman, tenor saxophonist Richie Kamuca, bassist Monty Budwig, and drummer Shelly Manne. "Our Delight" is joined in progress at the end of Gordon's opening solo, but the band is clearly energized. Gordon opts for a mute and interacts well with Freeman in a loping, extended treatment of "Summertime." Kamuca kicks off the long take of "Poinciana" with a blistering solo; Gordon's solo is equally full of energy, even if he isn't picked up as well by the microphone. Scott LaFaro is joined by Kamuca, pianist Victor Feldman, and drummer Stan Levey for a 1958 set. The first track is identified as "It Could Happen to You" (by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke) and is introduced as such by Kamuca at the end of the performance, but it sounds nothing like the well-known standard. This midtempo ballad has a snappy rhythm and good solos, though LaFaro's intricate work is backed only by Levey.
Since this set was likely a jam session, there are no phenomenal solos like those that featured LaFaro in his recordings with the Bill Evans Trio. Feldman's solo is the highlight of John Coltrane's "Bass Blues." Both recordings were purportedly made by Lighthouse jam session organizer (and sometime bassist) Howard Rumsey; they add to the recorded legacy of two potentially great musicians who died far too young.
—Ken Dryden (All Music Guide)