Personnel: Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor saxophone); Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis ; Jerome Richardson (flute, reeds, saxophone); Eric Dolphy, Bob Ashton, Oliver Nelson, George Barrow (reeds); Richard Gene Williams , Clark Terry, Bobby Bryant (trumpet); Steve Pulliam, Jimmy Cleveland, Melba Liston (trombone); Don Patterson (organ); George Duvivier, Wendell Marshall, Buddy Catlett (double bass); Art Taylor (drums); Paul Weeden (guitar); Horace Parlan, Richard Wyands (piano); Shirley Scott (organ); Roy Haynes, Arthur Edgehill (drums); Ray Barretto, Willie Bobo (congas); Luis Perez (bongos).
Audio Remasterer: Joe Tarantino.
Liner Note Author: Bret Primack.
Recording information: Van Gelder Studios, Hackensack, NJ (06/20/1958-05/01/1962).
Photographer: Steve Schapiro.
Arrangers: Ernie Wilkins; Oliver Nelson.
Tenor saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis had a long and varied career, working as a notable sideman for the likes of Cootie Williams, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie (his tenure with Basie lasted off and on for over 20 years). But Davis also led his own combos, and the best of these recorded for Prestige in the late 1950s and early '60s. The 12 cuts on this BEST OF set show Davis to be remarkably flexible, both stylistically and technically. A heavy soul-jazz flavor dominates the work Davis did with organist Shirley Scott, for example, with Scott's cool Hammond adding a nice balance to Davis's up-front playing.
Several cuts feature Ray Barretto and Willie Bobo on congas and Luis Perez on bongos, adding flavor and flair to the otherwise straight-ahead jazz instrumentation here. Generally, the mood favors laid-back, smoky grooves, though there are plenty of hard-bop overtones, especially in Davis's vigorous solos. Oliver Nelson's "Trane Whistle," which features a 13-piece big band, is one of the set's highlights, as is Davis's rendition of "Body and Soul," which gives tenor great Coleman Hawkins a run for his money. This is a highly enjoyable, always-swinging selection of Davis's Prestige-era work.