Personnel: Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt (tenor saxophone); Lou Donaldson (alto saxophone); Art Farmer, Billy Massey (trumpet); Al Outcalt (trombone); Junior Mance, Duke Jordan, Freddie Redd, Charlie Bateman (piano); Addison Farmer, Tommy Potter, Gene Wright (bass); Jo Jones, Wesley Landers, Teddy Stewart, Kenny Clarke (drums).
Engineers include: Rudy Van Gelder.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey between 1951 & 1955. Originally released on Prestige (7050). Includes original liner notes by Ira Gitler.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1991, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Personnel: Gene Ammons (tenor saxophone); Lou Donaldson (alto saxophone); Sonny Stitt (tenor saxophone); Art Farmer, Bill Massey (trumpet); Al Outcalt (trombone); Duke Jordan, Freddie Redd, Charles Bateman, Junior Mance (piano); Wesley Landers, Jo Jones , Kenny Clarke, Teddy Stewart (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Phil DeLancie.
Liner Note Author: Ira Gitler.
Recording information: New Jersey (03/05/1950-06/16/1955); New York, NY (03/05/1950-06/16/1955); Van Gelder Studios, Hackensack, NJ (03/05/1950-06/16/1955).
A bop classic, All-Star Session was the recording debut of Gene Ammons as a leader with his group the Gene Ammons All-Stars, featuring his fellow tenor saxophonist Sonny Stitt. At the time, Ammons and Stitt were legendary on the New York bop scene for the extended cutting contests they would get into on-stage; wisely, the album re-creates that excitement on its first two extended tracks, "Woofin' and Tweetin" (whose 15-minutes-plus took up nearly an entire side of the original 1950 LP, still a daring move at the time) and the even-more-exciting ten-minute blast "Juggernaut." Stitt and Ammons make an intriguing pair, with Ammons' Lester Young-influenced style going up against the bluesier, rawer sound of the Charlie Parker disciple Stitt; neither back down, and even the ten brief 78 sides and studio outtakes that fill out this CD feature some hot solos. A pair of ballads recorded around the same time, "When I Dream of You" and "A Lover Is Blue," provide a much-needed breather and a bit of relaxation after the previous ten tracks' worth of classic hard bop. Those looking to explore Stitt and Ammons' enormous catalogs (both together and separately) could do much worse than starting right here. ~ Stewart Mason