Recorded in one day (August 23, 1957) at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Hackensack, NJ. this date of ballads and burners features the young tenor saxophonist John Coltrane leading a quartet comprised of pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Arthur Taylor. This was his third album as leader and second for Prestige. The LP at the time helped to establish McLean on the jazz scene. He was joined by trumpeter Donald Byrd (who shines with the altoist on Charlie Parker’s "Confirmation") and tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley (also bopping hard on the tune), in a date solidified by McLean’s rhythm section: Mal Waldron on piano, Doug Watkins on bass and Arthur Taylor on drums. McLean also plays ballads, including Waldron’s sublime tune "Abstraction." Writing in the original notes, Ira Gitler said, "Jackie McLean is musically coming of age. His playing, out of Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins, has become a personalized, more individual voice in 1956 and he has not lost any of the basic emotion, swinging qualities that help his style live up to the second syllable of his last name so well."
"I was the engineer on the recording sessions and I also made the masters for the original LP issues of these albums. Since the advent of the CD, other people have been making the masters. Mastering is the final step in the process of creating the sound of the finished product. Now, thanks to the folks at the Concord Music Group who have given me the opportunity to remaster these albums, I can present my versions of the music on CD using modern technology. I remember the sessions well, I remember how the musicians wanted to sound, and I remember their reactions to the playbacks. Today, I feel strongly that I am their messenger."
—Rudy Van Gelder