A great source of Les McCann's strength lies in his large capacity for enjoyment. Whatever activity he engages in, be it music, photography (he is a fine photographer who runs a photographic studio as a sideline) or preparing a gourmet meal, he lets the joy he feels in living communicate to all those around him. It is hard to be in the audience when Les McCann is playing and not respond to the joyful power that is expressed through him.
This recording was done at Art D'Lugoff's Village Gate in New York City during a very active week in Les McCann's life, the Christmas-New Year's week of 1961. This is the third album to be released from that fruitful period. The first album was "Les McCann Ltd. in New York" (PJ-45) featuring Stanley Turrentine, Blue Mitchell and Frank Haynes. Les was in the fifth week of a six week engagement when the recordings took place. All the music for the Turrentine-Mitchell album was composed by Les during his stay in New York City. It was rehearsed the day previous to the recording which took place at the Village Gate Thursday evening December 28th. The following Monday, New Year's day, Les recorded an album under Stanley Turrentine's leadership for Blue Note Records. This was an exchange we worked out with Blue Note for allowing Stanley Turrentine to record an album with Les. The third album in this series, this trio album, was recorded during the regular Friday evening (December 29) engagement before a full and enthusiastic audience. Les McCann always plays his best when he can let the spirit flow through him to a responsive audience such as he found at the Village Gate.
I wish to thank Nesuhi Ertegun and Atlantic Records for the use of their Ampex stereo equipment to record this album and to Chip Monck, lighting master at the Village Gate, for his helpful assistance during the actual recordings.
-- Richard Bock