A jazz classic if there ever was one – and the best-selling album ever by Lee Morgan, thanks to the use of the title track in a car commercial! Sure, you've probably heard "The Sidewinder" enough that you think you know the album already – but the rest of the tunes really open up past that groover, into a realm of lyrical, soulful playing that's simply tremendous! The group on the record features Joe Henderson on tenor, Barry Harris on piano, Bob Crenshaw on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums – and the album rolls along with a sense of perfect power that is every bit Blue Note at its best!
The Searchers' debut LP doesn't sound quite like any other album they ever issued. All of their Pye Records albums were rushed, but not like this – faced with an extraordinarily popular hit right out of the box in the guise of "Sweets for My Sweet" (which rose to Number One on the U.K. charts), the group cut 11 more finished tracks in one day, drawn from the best part of their stage act…
Ella Fitzgerald was never thought of as a blues singer but she does a surprisingly effective job on the ten blues songs here, including "See See Rider," "Trouble in Mind," "St. Louis Blues," and Bessie Smith's "Jailhouse Blues." She somehow sings more or less in the style of the classic blues vocalists of the 1920s and largely pulls it off. Trumpeter Roy Eldridge, who has few solos and is low in the mix, is largely wasted, as organist Wild Bill Davis (with assistance from guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Gus Johnson) dominate the ensembles. It's an interesting set.
Surprisingly enough this 1963 LP was the first time (other than a couple songs) that Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie recorded together. (The match-up was so logical that it would be repeated many times over the next 20 years.) Fitzgerald sounds fine and, even if Quincy Jones' arrangements did not give the Basie musicians as much space for solos - although two songs do feature a bit of trumpeter Joe Newman, trombonist Urbie Green and Frank Foster on tenor - this is an enjoyable effort. High points include "Honeysuckle Rose," "Them There Eyes" and "Shiny Stockings."
It was originally issued as "Ella & Basie!" and reissued later with slightly different cover art as "On the Sunny Side of the Street".