These two early 60s quintet dates are marvelous, a mother lode of timeless horn artistry. They’re both straight reissues — no alternate takes or unreleased tracks of any sort. The first, originally produced by Creed Taylor, pairs Stan Getz and Bob Brookmeyer, with Steve Kuhn, John Neves, and Roy Haynes in the rhythm section. Three of Brookmeyer’s tunes appear (that’s half the program right there), beginning with "Minuet Circa ’61," a beautiful waltz that immediately establishes the rhythmic and timbral simpatico of the two principals. The uniqueness of both stylists is simply astounding. Brookmeyer begins his solo on the original ballad "Who Could Care" with well-spaced low notes that seize the listener’s attention. And Getz exhibits a flawless and heartfelt tone on "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square." The band inserts some nice detail to vary the improvisations even further — check out the stop-time passages on the bridge of "Nice Work" and on the finale, "Love Jumped Out," a simple AABA tune by Buck Clayton (which happens to feature Neves’s only solo). Nat Hentoff’s original liner notes are included, along with a new essay by Loren Schoenberg.
You ’N Me by the Al Cohn-Zoot Sims Quintet of 1960, features the two great tenors backed by Mose Allison, Major Holley, and Osie Johnson. Dave Frishberg’s new, nostalgic liner notes are a pleasure, but you’ll also want to refer to producer Leonard Feather’s original jottings for the solo identifications. The most unusual track is the last one, the self-explanatory "Improvisation for Unaccompanied Saxophones," which finds Zoot and Al taking turns over a jaunty repeated riff. A close second is "Angel Eyes," a novelty feature for Major Holley, who bows the melody and solo while unison-scatting in a buzzy, hilarious growl, with Zoot and Al providing clarinet background lines. (Holley overdubs a pizzicato line as well.) The band swings at an even keel throughout the session, and Allison turns in fine, distinctive solos. Other highlights include the standards "Love for Sale" and "You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To," Cohn originals "The Note" and "You ’N Me," and Bill Potts’s soulful stop-time shouter "The Opener."
Getz/Brookmeyer: 1. Minuet Circa
Getz/Brookmeyer: Stan Getz, tenor saxophone; Bob Brookmeyer, valve trombone; Steve Kuhn, piano; John Neves, bass; Roy Haynes, drums
Cohn/Sims: Al Cohn, tenor saxophone; Zoot Sims, tenor saxophone; Mose Allison, piano; Major Holley, bass; Osie Johnson, drums