THE BIG SOUND is a companion to GROOVE BLUES. Both albums were recorded on a single day in 1958 and feature an impressive array of players. Ammons' tenor saxophone is joined here by John Coltrane's alto, Paul Quinichette's tenor, Pepper Adams' alto, and Jerome Richardson's flute. The rhythm section is anchored by the piano of Mal Waldron. The set opens with the slow blues "Blue Hymn," an Ammons original. Waldron's "The Real McCoy" then kicks things into higher gear with an excitingly propulsive arrangement. The massed horns state the tune's main theme before breaking off into furious soloing. Likewise, Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" swings at a clip at once laid back and relentless. As with GROOVE BLUES, the album closes with a ballad, the song form forever linked with Ammons.
Personnel: Gene Ammons (tenor saxophone); John Coltrane (alto saxophone); Paul Quinichette (tenor saxophone); Pepper Adams (baritone saxophone); Jerome Richardson (flute); Mal Waldron (piano); George Joyner (bass); Arthur Taylor (drums).
01 Blue Hymn
02 The Real McCoy
03 Cheek to Cheek
04 That's All