My, my, my. It's impossible to stay in a bad mood listening to this new CD: five seasoned swingmeisters and a bag full of up-tempo blues. "Coast to Coast" achieves that perfect paradox: music that's tight and relaxed at the same time. It's a treat for tenor fans, with both the estimable Red Holloway and Frank Wess on the stand, and it's great to hear organist Dr. Lonnie Smith again, who remains one of the classiest practitioners of his instrument. Veterans Paul Humphrey (bass) and Melvin Sparks (guitar) aid and abet this thoroughly enjoyable session, where the solos in a breakneck-paced "Avalon" are enough to make the record (I had to check the credits to make sure there wasn't a bassist in there – it's Smith doing the fast- walking lines with his foot pedals).
The only ballad is a luscious "Indian Summer," with Holloway on alto weaving commentary around Wess's tenor lines. Holloway also does a very credible job singing Helen Humes's racy "Million Dollar Secret," as affable and expressive on vocals as he is on his horn.
If you don't move some part of your body while listening to this one, you'd better check your pulse. Recommended.
Track Listing: Still Groovin', Avalon, 3 Steps Up Clark, Indian Summer, Struttin' with Julie, Water Jug, Million Dollar
Secret, Good to Go
Personnel: Red Holloway (tenor and alto sax, vocal), Frank Wess (tenor sax), Dr. Lonnie Smith (organ), Melvin
Sparks (guitar), Paul Humphrey (drums). Bob Porter (producer)