Along with Max Roach, Kenny Clarke was one of the definitive drummers of jazz's original bebop movement. By the time of the BOHEMIA AFTER DARK sessions (in June 1955), Clarke was firmly established as a bandleader. He probably didn't know it at the time but Clarke also made jazz history here, as BOHEMIA marks the recording debut of the soulful Adderley brothers–alto sax heavyweight Cannonball and ace cornetist/composer Nat. The brothers also contributed several tunes as well. This session is earnestly swinging bop with very good early-career work from pianist Horace Silver and bassist Paul Chambers.
A portrait of the artist as a young man, The Nightfly is a wonderfully evocative reminiscence of Kennedy-era American life; in the liner notes, Donald Fagen describes the songs as representative of the kinds of fantasies he entertained as an adolescent during the late '50s/early '60s, and he conveys the tenor of the times with some of his most personal and least obtuse material to date. Continuing in the smooth pop-jazz mode favored on the final Steely Dan records, The Nightfly is lush and shimmering, produced with cinematic flair by Gary Katz; romanticized but never sentimental, the songs are slices of suburbanite soap opera, tales of space-age hopes (the hit "I.G.Y.") and Cold War fears (the wonderful "The New Frontier," a memoir of fallout-shelter love) crafted with impeccable style and sophistication.