Personnel: Philly Joe Jones (piano, drums); Bill Barron (tenor saxophone); Pepper Adams (baritone saxophone); Blue Mitchell (trumpet); Julian Priester (trombone); Charles Coker, Sonny Clark (piano); Jimmy Garrison (bass).
Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York, New York in November & December 1959. Originally released on Riverside (1159). Includes liner notes by Orrin Keepnews.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1990, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley).
This 1959 session from drummer Philly Joe Jones not only showcases his inimitable drumming skills, but also his ability to play the piano and compose music. For example, his self-penned ballad "Gwen" is performed here with great success. Not only is it a well-written tune, Jones's piano playing on the track is dynamic and harmonically advanced.
Despite Jones's versatility, his drumming is still the album's main focus. For example, on "Joe's Debut," Jones takes a very lyrical solo, implying the tune's melody at each turn, proving that drums can be colorful, melodic instruments. Further, Jones's driving snare solo on "Minor Mode" really shows off his technical acumen; he displays some very fancy stick work here. The lush ballad "I'll Never Be the Same" serves as the perfect counterpoint to the drum-set features. On this track, there is wonderful interplay between the four horn players. Moreover, trumpeter Blue Mitchell's short solo is superbly rendered. His tone is crisp and pure and his use of vibrato (on only a few choice notes) makes his phrasing resonate with great clarity.