Although he lived for another five years after this session, this seems to be bassist Curtis Counce's last date as a leader. His quintet was in fine form playing originals by band member Elmo Hope and tenor saxophonist Harold Land, also playing standards like "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Angel Eyes" with convincing chops. Swedish trumpeter Rolf Ericson, who became better known to jazz fans while with Duke Ellington in the '60s, fits in beautifully with the cool-sounding hard bop style of this tight unit. Originally released on the long-defunct Dootone label, this highly sought-after record was finally reissued as a CD on the English label Boplicity in 1996.
The second volume of Ace’s Shirelles reissue project finds our heroines firmly entrenched as America’s premiere group. Shirley, Doris, Beverly and Micki (“Mouse” to her friends) were on top of the world as they rang in 1962 at the Apollo Theater’s holiday show – the youngest-ever women to headline Harlem’s fabled showplace. 1961 had seen them rise to dizzying heights with seven major hits, numerous TV appearances and non-stop touring, including an appearance at the Hollywood Bowl. The craze they had incited was booming – the Apollo bill featured the Marvelettes, who had recently become the second girl-group chart-toppers.