George Shearing's path had crossed Ray Brown's quite a few times at the occasional festival (among others, the Concord Jazz Festival and Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl), but this was their first real jazz recording together. The bringing together of these two talents was as logical as it was inevitable, as Shearing always had a predilection for great bassists.
Marvin "Smitty" Smith, a generation younger than his two colleagues, was familiar to both Ray and George. "I'd played some of his records on my WNEW radio show," Shearing said, "and I was greatly impressed, so that working with him for the first time was no problem at all. In fact, many of the tracks on this album are first takes -- that's how well the three of us got along."
The Shearing phenomenon revealed itself early to Ray. "When George sat in with us on Hank's nights off at the Deuces, he amazed me. I realized he'd been listening to us closely and knew every arrangement note for note."
This same perceptiveness was a key to the success of their Concord date. The entire session was completed in six and a half hours -- about as long as it would take a pop group just to decide where to set up their equipment. Time flies when you're in love with music.