This album, made less than a year before Hampton Hawes's death, is the final chapter in one of the great artist/producer partnerships of the modern era. Hawes and Contemporary's Lester Koenig, who together had created one of the great series of piano trio recordings of the Fifties, came together for what turned out to be a valedictory statement. No mere relic of an earlier time, the proof of Hawes's continued evolution can be heard in his fresh interpretation of two then-recent pop hits, and in the discoveries he continued to make in the areas of voicing and accent. "Soul Sign Eight," a blues tour de force, is the masterpiece of the session, although each track is suffused with brilliance. Having the support of Shelly Manne, another Contemporary artist, and Ray Brown (who participated in the label's Poll Winners albums) only deepened the aura of this wise and eloquent album.