Genius early work from west coast leader Gerald Wilson – heard here many years before his famous 60s sides for Pacific Jazz, on material from one rare 1954 album, plus a full bonus live set from a few years before – issued here for the first time ever! The 1954 studio work is especially great – done in a style that still shows Wilson's bold talents for unified grooving and breakout solo moments – but with perhaps a bit more touch of the exotic than even some of his Spanish and Latin-tinged sides from later years. Most of the tunes here are original Wilson compositions, handled in an array of colors and tones that are breathtaking, and which really beat most of the better-known mainstream LA
leaders of the time at their own game! Players include Paul Gonsalves, Teddy Edwards, Clark Terry, John Anderson, Addison Farmer, and Jerry Dodgion – and titles include "Algerian Fantasy", "Romance", "Black Rose", "Mambo Mexicano", "Lotus Land
", and "Bull Fighter". The second half of the CD is from a live date recorded at San Francisco's Veteran's Memorial in 1950 – with quality that's certainly a bit more "live" than the other tracks on the CD, but still relatively strong overall – especially given the half-century since the time of recording. The lineup for this batch of tunes includes Melba Liston, Ernie Royal, Wardell Gray, Stan Getz, Sonni Criss, and Gerald Wiggins – a very unusual batch of all-star players – and titles include "Hollywood Freeway", "Out Of Nowhere", "Sea Breeze", and "It Had To Be You".
(Out of print.)