The birth of a legend – documented here in a really wonderful package – a brilliant 2CD set that brings forth the first-ever recordings of the Thad Jones/
Mel Lewis Orchestra – heard here on the debut nights of their very long run of Monday night performances at the Village Vanguard! Right from the start, this group was really something special – formed by the meeting of two legendary talents, trumpeter Thad Jones and drummer Mel Lewis – and driven strongly by a lineup of all-star players who were happy to shelve their egos this night of the week, and come together in a unit that was far more than just the sum of its amazing parts. Players on these two nights include Hank Jones on piano, Richard Davis on bass, Jimmy Owens and Bill Berry on trumpets, Bob Brookmeyer and Garnett Brown on trombones, and Jerome Richardson, Joe Farrell, Pepper Adams
, and Jerry Dodgion on a flurry of amazing reed performances – producing the kinds of insane colors and edges the group was always known for! This isn't big band jazz – at least not the sort you'd think of with cliche – and instead, the recordings document the meeting of amazing talents creating effortlessly together under the leadership of two generous giants. The package is wonderful, really a tribute to this amazing music – oversized, and with a huge booklet of notes and photos – and 2CDs with titles that include "Back Bone", "Big Dipper", "Mornin Reverend", "Little Pixie", "All My Yesterdays", "Once Around", "Ah That's Freedom", and "Don't Ever Leave Me".