Extremes bookends vibist-percussionist Cal Tjader's very first recordings, made c. 1951 for Fantasy and previously available only on ten-inch LP, and his last album for the Fantasy subsidiary Galaxy, from 1977. This package presents two dominant strains in his work: the breezy straight-ahead sounds with which Tjader had made his initial mark as drummer for the early Dave Brubeck groups in San Francisco, and the percolating rhythms that would make him a most unlikely star of Latin-jazz in the 1950s and '60s. The 1951 selections, with Tjader (1925-1982) on vibes, bongos, and drums, find the piano slot divided between Vince Guaraldi (of later "Peanuts" TV soundtracks fame) and John Marabuto. "Chopsticks Mambo" and "Ivy" forecast crossover success for Tjader's way with Latin grooves. As for the quintet date that completes this collection, it admirably blends easy swing and after-hours ballads with Tjader, the eminent Hank Jones (doing right by the electric piano), and Bay Area trumpeter Allen Smith suggesting old friends talking late into the evening.
with Monty Budwig, Vince Guaraldi, Hank Jones, Shelly Manne, John Marabuto, Allen Smith, Jack Weeks