Great early work from arranger Manny Album – 2 albums back to back on one CD! First up is Manny's entry in RCA's Jazz Workshop series – a set of tunes that are shorter, and arguably a bit more modern than some of Albam's later work – tracks done definitely in that Jazz Workshop blend of west coast cool and east coast modern – with players that include Bob Brookmeyer, Nick Travis, Urbie Green, Billy Byers, Hal McKusick, Al Cohn
, and Thad Jones. Titles include the Albam originals "Headstrong", "The Changing Scene", "The Turning Point", and "Intermezzo" – plus "Charmaine", "Royal Garden Blues", and "Anything Goes". Next up is The Drum Suite – hard-swinging big band tracks, with an emphasis on drums! The album is a suite of six tracks – all written by either Manny Albam or Ernie Wilkins, both of whom arrange the groups on the set. Manny and Ernie were two of the more soulful arrangers of their day – and they get some strong performances out of the groups, letting players like Conte Candoli, Hal McKusick, Al Cohn
, and Freddie Green open up in longer tracks driven to intensity by some great drum work. Titles include "Skinning The Valves", "Dancers On Drums", "Bristling", and "The Octopus".
(Please note the tray card is missing one spine.)