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.
Of the seven songs on this Blue Note CD reissue, 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. ~ AllMusic
Bass on Top is another thoroughly engaging set of straight-ahead, mainstream jazz from Paul Chambers. The bassist leads a quartet comprised of guitarist Kenny Burrell, pianist Hank Jones, and drummer Art Taylor through a selection of standards, including "Yesterdays," "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," and "Dear Old Stockholm," as well as a handful of contemporary jazz numbers and originals. ~ AllMusic
Recorded at a single session on May 19, 1957, the simply titled Quintet features one of bassist Paul Chambers' rare outings as a bandleader, and it teams him with Detroiters Donald Byrd (trumpet), Tommy Flanagan (piano), and Elvin Jones (drums), and Chicagoan Clifford Jordan (tenor sax). It's a low-key affair, with the quintet running through a couple of standards ("Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise," "What's New"), a pair of compositions from Chambers ("The Hand of Love," "Beauteous"), and two pieces by the prolific Benny Golson ("Minor Run-Down," "Four Strings"). ~ AllMusic
We Three, recorded in a single session on November 14, 1958, was the first American studio date as a bandleader for the diminutive and legendary jazz drummer Roy Haynes, although with pianist Phineas Newborn on board (along with bassist Paul Chambers), it really is a set dominated by Newborn, whose busy, two-handed technique here works in tandem balance with Haynes' cool refinement. Newborn was all about amazing and dazzling piano runs that on some dates created simply too much flash and clutter to allow pieces to flow and breathe properly, but Haynes has always been about grace and flow throughout his career (if a drummer's style can said to be elegant, Haynes fits the bill), and here he rubs off on Newborn, who exercises just enough restraint to keep him in the proper orbit, resulting in a fine album.