1. The serious listener can dip his / her toes into "free jazz" without getting soaked. New ideas abound on this recording, but overall the music is friendly and its tensions are balanced by an irrepressible exuberance. Even as it steps outside, one foot is always standing on traditions.
2. Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone and bass clarinet) and Booker Little (trumpet) are a great lead combination. Their unison lines have interesting shadings and usually push toward the possibility of Little's favored dissonance. The solos do not clash; both players weave together, tangling and untangling ideas.
3. The rhythm section is outstanding. Mal Waldron (piano), Richard Davis (bass) and Ed Blackwell (drums) are fine players, and they were secure in their musical concepts. Waldron complements the front line perfectly, and his solos are a lot of fun.
4. Pathos. This is a live recording, and the club's piano is out of tune. But it's hard to imagine this performance being better had the piano been a better instrument. The trumpeter died three months later, only 23 years old. The leader lasted another three years, dying tragically at age 36. The club, a historic site for many new things in jazz, closed not long after these performances were recorded.
This post is dedicated to my friends and mentors, Gary Faleide and Leo Maiberger.