Of the seven songs on this Blue Note date, four are more common than the other three because they contain solos by tenor saxophonist John Coltrane and have therefore been reissued more often. Actually there are quite a few solos in the all-star sextet (which includes the bassist-leader, Coltrane, trumpeter Donald Byrd, guitarist Kenny Burrell, pianist Horace Silver, and drummer Philly Joe Jones) and all of the players get their chances to shine on this fairly spontaneous hard bop set. Coltrane's two obscure compositions ("Nita" and "Just for the Love") are among the more memorable tunes and are worth reviving. "Tale of the Fingers" features the quintet without Coltrane, the rhythm section stretches out on "Whims of Chambers," and "Tale of the Fingers" is a showcase for Chambers' bowed bass. This is a fine effort and would be worth picking up by straight-ahead jazz fans even if John Coltrane had not participated.
This was not a working trio, except for a series of Mondays at the Five Spot Café in the fall of 1958, but it is a unit that is made up of three powerful parts whose sum is even greater than its whole. What they do with two Ray Bryant orginals, Avery Parrish’s classic blues, "After Hours,” Tadd Dameron’s "Our Delight,” and Phineas Newborn’s "Sugar Ray,” is memorable music from an all-star trio that would never get together again.
Paul Chambers finally receives the Mosaic Select treatment and there's a surprise tossed in with his catalog for fans and connoisseurs: his material recorded for the Transition label. Also included on the Paul Chambers set are the albums Chambers' Music and Whims of Chambers from 1956 and Bass on Top and The Paul Chambers Quintet from 1957. Musicians on these dates ran the gamut from Elvin Jones to Donald Byrd, Clifford Jordan, Horace Silver, Kenny Burrell, Hank Jones, and Art Taylor – an overwhelming number of fellow Detroiters. There are some other odds and ends as well, but most importantly, the Transition material will be of prime interest to John Coltrane fans.