Gene Ammons: A Stranger In Town (2002)
The forgoing will hopefully put into perspective the circumstances surrounding the strange mélange that makes up the Gene Ammons compilation A Stranger In Town. Taken from no less than five recording sessions that span from 1954 to 1970, the 13 tracks assembled here originally appeared on the albums Velvet Soul, Sock!, and Night Lights. That’s the easy part; and then it gets confusing as you try to keep up with the rotating cast of characters on hand. A boisterous “The Song Is You” gets us started with some great small group charts provided by Oliver Nelson, only to give way to a spate of quartet performances that while solid are not particularly all that revelatory. The closing three tracks, particularly a tasty “Calypso Blues,” are the cream of the crop as Ammons' blustery attack gets bluesy support from the ubiquitous Wynton Kelly.
Track Listing: The Song Is You, Light'n Up, Short Stop, They Say You're Laughing at Me, Salome's Tune, Blue Coolade, A Stranger in Town, Scam, Count Your Blessings, Cara Mia, Night Lights, Nature Boy, Calypso Blues
Personnel: Gene Ammons (tenor saxophone)with Bob Ashton, George Barrow, Patti Bown, George Brown, Henry "Pucho" Brown, Henderson Chambers, Rudy Collins, Hobart Dotson, George Duvivier, Gene Easton, Bill English, Red Holloway, John Houston, Wynton Kelly, Wendell Marshall, Oliver Nelson, Walter Perkins, Ben Steuberville, Clark Terry, Ed Thigpen, Mal Waldron, Nate Woodward, Richard Wyands
Record Label: Fantasy Jazz