Personnel: Gene Ammons (tenor saxophone); Frank Wess (tenor saxophone, flute); Mal Waldron (piano); Johnny "Hammond" Smith (organ); Doug Watkins, Wendell Marshall (bass); Arthur Taylor, Ed Thigpen (drums).
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on June 17, 1960 and September 5, 1962. Includes liner notes by Robert Levin.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1998, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Personnel: Gene Ammons (tenor saxophone); Johnny "Hammond" Smith (organ); Frank Wess (flute, tenor saxophone); Mal Waldron (piano); Ed Thigpen, Art Taylor (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Phil DeLancie.
Recording information: Englewood Cliffs, NJ (06/17/1960-09/25/1962); New Jersey (06/17/1960-09/25/1962).
Photographer: Gai Terrell.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Doug Watkins; Ed Thigpen; Frank Wess; Gene Ammons; Johnny "Hammond" Smith; Mal Waldron; Wendell Marshall.
Gene Ammons was one of the great tenor saxophone stylists of jazz. His big, breathy, swaggering and slightly rough tone, rich with more than just a hint of blues and R&B, was popular with both big band jazz and soul-jazz audiences through the funk/fusion era. Ammons was also an influence on a couple of generations of R&B players, including King Curtis, Big Jay McNeely and Willis "Gator Tail" Jackson.
ANGEL EYES consists of two sessions from 1960 and 1962, where Ammons works out on some jazz standards, accompanied by such talents as Johnny "Hammond" Smith, Art Taylor, and Mal Waldron. On the tunes featuring organ ("Blue Room"), the music is rooted firmly in the relaxed, smoky, funky soul-jazz sound of Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff and Joey DeFrancesco. On the piano ballads, Ammons and company favor a sentimental, straight-ahead approach in the Dexter Gordon/Sonny Rollins/Ben Webster tradition. ANGEL EYES is an ideal way to experience jazz at a crossroads in the early '60s, as well as Ammons in peak form.