On January 3, 1958, Gene Ammons had a good day-a very good day. Recording sessions from that date resulted in two albums with his All Stars, GROOVE BLUES and the equally impressive THE BIG SOUND. On GROOVE BLUES, the All Stars stretch out on four tunes: Ammons' own "Jug Handle," two numbers by pianist Mal Waldron, and one song by Rogers and Hammerstein.
The All Stars boast four saxophonists and represent the cream of the post-bop crop. John Coltrane's alto, Pepper Adams' baritone, and Paul Quinichette's tenor trade off with Ammons' tenor with fire and grace. Their massed sound, along with Jerome Richardson's flute, is a dazzling force as it flies over the piano and rhythm section gently pushing "Groove Blues." The closing ballad, "It Might as Well be Spring," is built around the lush tones of Ammons' solitary horn and the piano-anchored trio, its 11 minutes of passionate romanticism drifting by like a hypnotic reverie.
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 Ammon Joy
02 Groove Blues
03 Jug Handle
04 It Might as Well Be Spring