Q - 8/00, p.1193 stars out of 5
- "...The overall ambience is pure cocktail party, but it's kept on track by Ray Brown's impeccable basslines and the sense that everyone involved enjoyed themselves immensely."
Personnel: Quincy Jones (arranger, conductor); Bob James (arranger, electric piano); Hilda Harris, Marilyn Jackson, Valerie Simpson, Maeretha Stewart (vocals); Freddie Hubbard, John Frosk, Marvin Stamm, Lloyd Michaels, Dick Williams, Snooky Young (trumpet); Alan Raph (trombone, bass trombone); J.J. Johnson, Kai Winding, Jimmy Cleveland, Norman Pride, Tony Studd (trombone); George Jeffers (bass trombone); Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Hubert Laws, Joel Kaye, Jerome Richardson (woodwinds); Toots Thielemans (harmonica, guitar); Paul Griffin (piano); Eric Gale (guitar); Ray Brown (acoustic & electric basses); Chuck Rainey (electric bass); Bernard Purdie, Grady Tate (drums).
Producer: Creed Taylor.
Reissue producer: Bryan Koniarz.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Recording Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on June 18 & 19, 1969. Includes liner notes by Morgan Ames and Zan Stewart.
Digitally remastered by Kevin Reeves (Universal Mastering Studios-East).
Personnel: Quincy Jones (vocals, trumpet); Marilyn Jackson, Jesse Kirkland, Maretha Stewart, Valerie Simpson, Hilda Harris (vocals); Toots Thielemans (guitar, harmonica); Eric Gale , Eric Glae (guitar); Joel Kaye (flute, reeds, woodwinds, saxophone); Hubert Laws (flute, woodwinds, tenor saxophone); Jerome Richardson (woodwinds, soprano saxophone); Rahsaan Roland Kirk (woodwinds, tenor saxophone); Lloyd Michels, Dick Williams, Marvin Stamm, Snooky Young, John Frosk (trumpet, flugelhorn); Freddie Hubbard (trumpet); George Jeffers, J.J. Johnson , Norman Pride, Jimmy Cleveland, Kai Winding, Alan Raph, Tony Studd (trombone); Bob James (piano, electric piano, keyboards); Paul Griffin (piano, electric piano); Chuck Rainey, Ray Brown (electric bass); Grady Tate, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie (drums).
Liner Note Authors: Zan Stewart; Morgan Ames.
Recording information: Rudy Van Gelder Studios (06/18/1969/06/19/1969); Van Gelder Recording Studio, NJ (06/18/1969/06/19/1969); Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (06/18/1969/06/19/1969).
Editor: Peter Keepnews.
Arrangers: Quincy Jones; Bob James.
The protean Quincy Jones returned to the recording studio as a leader after a long stretch in Hollywood with this triumphantly contemporary big band album. He re-established himself firmly with his big band jazz base while casting a keen eye on the pop scene and the world of electric instruments (even Ray Brown is caught playing superb electric bass here). The diplomat also unveils his uncanny ability to attract some of the biggest names in jazz as sidemen (Freddie Hubbard, Roland Kirk, Hubert Laws, J.J. Johnson, Kai Winding, etc.), a quality that will be put to use again and again in the following decades. For jazz buffs, the long, dramatic title track from the then-raging musical Hair is the highlight; Hubbard positively sizzles on muted trumpet, and the brash Kirk blasts through the grooving rhythm section under heavy reverb. You also get Jones' classic, swaggering arrangement of Benny Golson's "Killer Joe" -- practically the definitive version -- and a rendition of Edwin Hawkins' freak hit "Oh Happy Day" that bursts with wit and sheer joy. This is one of the great peaks of Creed Taylor's A&M period, and it still sounds spectacular today. ~ Richard S. Ginell