Koch Jazz is beginning to release a good bit of the old Vee Jay catalog. Preceding this release was Bill Henderson's His Complete Vee Jay Recordings (Koch Jazz). Now it appears that Koch Jazz is to compete with the recent Mosaic box highlighting Wayne Shorter ( The Complete Vee Jay Lee Morgan - Wayne Shorter Sessions Mosaic 202). What is good about this is the Mosaic Box will not be around forever. It would be nice if the label releases Shorter's other Vee Jay releases ( Wayning Moments has already been released). Introducing Wayne Shorter, also released as Blues A La Carte, was Shorter's first release as a leader and shows off the saxophonist's considerable talent shortly before he joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.
The disc contains five fine Shorter originals and a swinging version of "Mack the Knife." There are several alternate takes provided on this recording. Shorter is joined by perhaps the finest rhythm section that did not include Philly Joe Jones and Red Garland. Included are Wynton Kelly and Jimmy Cobb, joined by Paul Chambers. Sharing the front with Shorter is Lee Morgan, a Hard Bop standard bearer fitting to kick off this great career. This is rarified music that is immediately enjoyable. It illuminates the sheer talent and genius of Wayne Shorter, even so early in his playing career. He is definitely a tenor for our time.
Track Listing: Blues A La Carte; Harry's Last Stand; Down In The Depths; Pug Nose; Black Diamond; Mack The Knife; Blues A La Carte (Alt); Harry's Last Stand (Alt); Down In The Depths (Alt); Black Diamond (Alt) (Total Time: 53:44).
Personnel: Wayne Shorter: Tenor Saxophone; Lee Morgan: Trumpet; Wynton Kelly: Piano; Paul Chambers: Bass; Jimmy Cobb: Drums.