Sam Most, flute; Al Viola, guitar; Richard Simon, bass
Sam Most has been one of the stalwarts of Jazz for Lord knows how long - one of those guys who crop up time and time again on five-star recordings, among the cream playing our favorite music. Al Viola, of course, is the Pavarotti of another equally famous trio, albeit of guitarists. He also did a tour of duty with Sinatra and gave a boost to June Christy. We read of Richard Simon keeping excellent company on a Ken Peplowski date and he has worked with Teddy Edwards and Buddy Collette. In other words, Simon has been around, too - even to the point of jamming with the King of Thailand, along with seemingly everybody else claiming the honor. So what we have are three pros, playing really hip mainstream swing, with a bit of bop here and there, on an impeccably chosen list of tunes. First having the impression that Most is the designated leader, one soon comes to appreciate that Viola, who is a supreme accompanist, is no mean soloist, either. And he sure can pick a melody. Most is an accomplished flautist who has been in the shadow of Herbie Mann for way too long. He has an often fluffy tone which softens his attack most attractively. But the guy really knows how to dig in and groove on a melody line. Above and beyond, of course, Simon keeps up his end by demonstrating a remarkable skill for melody, and at the same time providing the bounce that is so important to a successful Jazz recording. Most sings a couple of times and you get to like his unaffected love of what he does. The club crowd had a good time, and there is no reason why any other Jazz fan shouldn't get some of the goods.
by Lawrence Brazier
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