Virgil Gonsalves Big Band Plus Six: Virgil Gonsalves (baritone saxophone); Dan Patiris (tenor saxophone); Mike Downs (trumpet); Merrill Hoover (piano); Eddie Kahn (electric bass); Al Randall (drums).
Virgil Gonsalves, a long-forgotten but talented baritone/saxophonist, led three record dates in the 1950s of which this V.S.O.P. reissue LP was the final one. The first side, which includes such songs as "Stablemates," "A Sunday Kind of Love" and one of the earliest "cover" versions of John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice," features a 13-piece big band (five trumpets, five saxes and a three-piece rhythm section) filled with mostly obscure players; the exceptions are altoist Leo Wright, pianist Junior Mance and bassist Eddie Kahn. The flip side has a hard bop-oriented sextet featuring Gonsalves, trumpeter Mike Downs and tenor-saxophonist Dan Patiris as the main soloists. This is an LP that should delight collectors who enjoy discovering "new" talent, for the musicians' lack of name recognition does not hide their impressive talent. ~ Scott Yanow