A lost chapter of genius from vibes player Billy Wooten – and a great one too! The set's a rare outing with Hammond giant Groove Holmes – laid out nicely here in a quartet setting that offers up plenty of Billy's great vibes mixed with the organ – in a mode that's very different than anything else Wooten ever recorded, and which really takes us back to the best soul jazz years of 60s Prestige Records! The group also features great tenor from Jimmy Coe – a player we don't really know at all – and drums from Jozell Carter, who works nicely with the rhythms from Holmes' work on the Hammond. Titles include "Blue Bossa", "Bags", "Groove's Blues", "It's A Groove Thing", and "I Remember April."
Ironically, Gene "Jug" Ammons tended to be critical of organists; he was quoted as saying that "organ players don't know any changes." However, as critical the Chicago tenor saxman might have been of organists – most of them, anyway – he did some of his best work in their presence. When you united Ammons with Jack McDuff, Johnny "Hammond" Smith and other B-3 masters in the '60s, the sparks would fly. They certainly fly on this excellent album, which finds Ammons and Richard "Groove" Holmes co-leading a soul-jazz/hard bop organ combo that also includes guitarist Gene Edwards and drummer Leroy Henderson.
Of all of organist Jimmy Smith's big-band albums recorded for Verve, this is one of the most imaginative ones. Oliver Nelson arranged a variety of themes from Prokofiev's Peter & the Wolf into a swinging suite featuring the great organist Jimmy Smith. Although there is no verbal narrative on this LP, Nelson's liner notes tell the story (which can actually be followed through the music) and Smith pays respect to the original melodies while making strong statements of his own. A classic of its kind.