A full serving of work from the amazing AK Salim – a 2CD set that brings together his complete sessions for Savoy Records! Salim was one of the father-reaching jazz musicians of his time, and always tried to create albums that had a more "tied together" approach than some of his contemporaries' albums. This approach usually resulted in a album like Flute Suite – one based around a "suite" of similar musical themes – in this case, a flute-based one from the dual frontline of Frank Wess and Herbie Mann, both of whom really shine in the setting! Other players include Joe Wilder on trumpet, Frank Rehack on trombone, and Hank Jones on piano – and Herbie Mann also plays a bit of tenor sax as well. The tunes are all originals by Salim, and really make great use of the twin-flute sound – and titles include "Loping", "Ballin The Blues", "Miltown Blues", "Pretty Baby", and "Duo Flautist". Next up on the CD is material from the album Stablemates – a session that has Salim leading a full horn
section that includes Johnny Griffin on tenor, Johnny Coles on trumpet, Buster Cooper on trombone, and Howard Austin on baritone sax – all coming together in a way that's tightly arranged on the heads, but which lets key players break out in some really wonderful solo moments. Other players include Kenny Burrell on guitar and Tommy Flanagan on piano – and titles include "Black Talk", "D Minor Dipper", and "Dejeuner". Pretty For The People follows – a swirling batch of soulful jazz tracks, featuring an octet that includes Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Johnny Griffin on tenor, Pepper Adams on baritone sax, Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, Max Roach on drums, and Chino Pozo on congas. Salim has a real talent for taking a group like this and making them swing hard – kind of in the way that Slide Hampton did on his early 60s sides for Atlantic, and with a similar soulful bent – especially given the strong percussion work on the set. The soloists break out of the group strongly on the best cuts – and all tunes are over five minutes long, with ample solo space. Titles include "Blu Binsky", "RU12", "Shirley
Ray", "Ba Lu Ee Du", and "Pretty For The People". Next up is Blues Suite – a record that focuses on the bluer side of jazz, and features some excellent soloists – like Seldon Powell on flute and tenor, Sahib Shihab on baritone sax, Nat Adderley on cornet, and Phil Woods on alto – all playing long soulful passages on Salim originals like "Payday", "Joybox", "Full Moon", and "Blu-Shout". The set's not as modernist oriented as similar work by some of Salim's contemporaries – still with an overall conception, but somewhat more looser swinging – and like some of AK's best other sessions from the time, has a feel that's quite like some of Slide Hampton's leaner, more soul jazz moments. CD also features the track "June Is Bustin Out All Over" – from the Savoy album Jazz Is Busting Out All Over.