Herb Ellis is known primarily for playing with small ensembles, so this recording as part of an octet is a departure for the great guitarist. This "all-star" combo includes trumpeter Roy Eldridge in a sublimated role, while tenor saxophonist Buddy Tate is featured a bit more, and pianist Ray Bryant solidifies the nucleus of a very talented band of old pros and unsung heroes. The fare is split between standards, originals, and favorites, including Duke Ellington's rousing "It Don't Mean a Thing" with the jamming Eldridge leading the charge. The classic "Gravy Waltz" of Ray Brown is done here, as Bryant's deft chords with the sax and trumpets form a strolling, impenetrable front line -- one of the very best, fully formed and realized versions of this great song. Ellis contributed the folkish "Poor Darlin' Nellie," derived from the story of banished African-American slave Nellie Gray, a light rural swing with no horns save Assunto's muted trumpet solo. "Roy Showed" is a bouncy bop blues punctuated by Tate's tenor as Ellis further accents with sharp strumming chords. Everybody plays together in sweet agreement on "Broadway," a stock jam tune that shows the band has no issues with grandstanding, egos, or finding enough space to play. The band strips down to a trio on the pristine ballad "Willow Weep for Me" and Tate presents a spare, spacious melody line during "It Makes No Difference Now." The balance of this group should duly receive high marks (especially since it was a one-shot).