Paul Chambers (b), John Coltrane (ts), Pepper Adams (bs), Curtis Fuller (tb), Kenny Drew, Roland Alexander (p), Philly Joe Jones (d)
Reference: FSRCD 610
Bar code: 8427328606103
When these two sessions took place, Paul Chambers was still a young musician whose work with the Miles Davis Quintet had stirred much excitement. Both sessions are very special because they were not even scheduled dates.
The first, recorded in two hours for Jazz:West, a small Los Angeles label, was actually a date with the Davis group minus the leader and with Kenny Drew in for Red Garland. The second, recorded a few weeks later for Transition, another small label based in Cambridge, Mass., came out of a rehearsal session for a planned and unfinished album.
On both sessions Chambers shows to the full his remarkably expressive sound and technique. He could also be quite moving when he played the simplest and most direct lines, and his solos virtually claimed a spotlight for the instrument in its own right as a horn with the others.
These dates have other virtues, including the soulful work of Kenny Drew, the multifaceted rhythmic drive of Philly Joe Jones. John Coltrane is especially gripping on his own John Paul Jones, with Chambers equally inspiring. Curtis Fuller, on his debut, announced a major trombone talent, with Pepper Adams, baritone sax with Stan Kenton, lending his hoarse, visceral sound to the session. Time has been good to these inspired blowing sessions.
"The first sessions as a leader for bassist Paul Chambers were recorded while he was a member of the Miles Davis Quintet. The first six selections feature Chambers with pianist Kenny Drew, drummer Philly Joe Jones, and (on four numbers) the immortal tenor saxophonist John Coltrane. This somewhat obscure date includes such jazz standards as "Dexterity" and "Stablemates" along with "Easy to Love" and three straight-ahead group originals. Coltrane dominates the numbers he is on, although his sound was not quite mature yet.
Although none of this music is classic, it does give listeners a valuable early look at these important jazzmen. [Three bonus tracks added on the Blue Note 1989 CD reissue were listed as being from April 20, 1955, but the 2010 remastered edition on Fresh Sound clarified that the session took place exactly a year later. Chambers, Jones, and Coltrane welcome two young musicians recently transplanted from Detroit: baritonist Pepper Adams and trombonist Curtis Fuller. In addition, pianist Roland Alexander is on the lengthy "Trane's Strain."]
—Scott Yanow (All Music Guide)