Veteran trombonist Al Grey leads an unusual quintet on this set from 1988 that, in addition to drummer Bobby Durham, features the sons of Al Cohn (guitarist Joe Cohn), Gerald Wiggins (bassist J.J. Wiggins), and his own Mike Grey on second trombone. The two trombonists have similar sounds, with the elder Grey getting the bulk of the solos.
This somewhat obscure Lee Morgan set (originally cut for Specialty and made available on CD in the OJC series) features the trumpeter with other then-current members of the Dizzy Gillespie big band: trombonist Al Grey, tenor saxophonist Billy Mitchell, baritonist Billy Root, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul West, and drummer Charlie Persip. With arrangements provided by Benny Golson and Roger Spotts, the music is modern bop for the period. Highlights include the ten-and-a-half-minute "Dishwater," "Over the Rainbow," and what was probably the first-ever version of Golson's "Whisper Not." Morgan plays extremely well throughout the spirited set, and he was just 18 at the time.
This double-CD set gave bassist Milt Hinton an opportunity to engage in reunions with many of his old friends from the 1930s. The seven sessions were compiled during a 12-month period and the results are often delightful. The opening "Old Man Time" is sung by Hinton himself, and it is both insightful and humorous. The other highlights include Joe Williams singing "Four or Five Times" (which features some very rare Flip Phillips clarinet), three bass guitar duets with Danny Barker, appearances by Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry, Al Grey, Ralph Sutton, and the formation of a group called "The Survivors" that has guitarist Al Casey at age 75 being the youngest member; the latter band also includes 85-year-old trumpeter Doc Cheatham, Eddie Barefield, Buddy Tate and even Cab Calloway. A lot of storytelling takes place during the songs and, in addition to the 92½ minutes of music, there are two "Jazzspeaks." The 13-minute one features Hinton, Calloway, Cheatham and Barefield reminiscing about their experiences in the early days, while a marvelous 45-minute monologue by the bassist covers most of his long and productive life and is consistently fascinating. Highly recommended.