This first solo release from tenor sax player Junior Cook
came at the midpoint of his six-year tenure with the Horace Silver Band. It's a relaxed affair, paced a couple of notches below the intensity of a typical Silver date. Still, with Cook
's front-line partner in the Silver group -- trumpeter Blue Mitchell
-- on board, along with Silver's rhythm section, the 1961 session has a definite affinity with the hard bop style of the more famous parent group. There are also links to the cool tones of Miles Davis
' early-'50s Blue Note releases and to the transitional work of the mid-'50s Max Roach-Clifford Brown Band. If the overall approach is subdued, this generally works to the music's benefit by bringing out the finer points of Cook
's and Mitchell
's' playing. Both players emphasize tone, phrasing, and an ability to sail their choruses elegantly along the current of the rhythm section. The writing here is not particularly distinctive, but what it lacks in originality, the players make up for with their audible pleasure in working through the familiar changes. The result, while not essential listening, is a satisfying and honest set that provides an appealing portrait of both Cook
, two central, although not seminal, figures in the development of hard bop.