The jam session was the staple of Prestige recordings in the Fifties and Gene Ammons, with his big sound and even bigger heart, was often at the center of these informal affairs which took the tension out of studio recording.
The success of any jam depends on the chemistry among the participants and the material on which they choose to improvise. The latter must be uncomplicated so as to let them relax, and interesting enough to stimulate. Jammin' in Hi-Fi filled the bill on both counts. Ammons and his cohorts proved very compatible and the repertoire suited them perfectly. Pianist Mal Waldron supplied two lines for blowing, "The Twister" and "Cattin'"; and two standards, old ("Pennies from Heaven") and new ("Four"), rounded out the program.
Within the jamming format there was structure. The Ammons duets with guitarist Kenny Burrell, at the beginning and end of "Pennies," frame the solos well; and "chase" choruses are not present on every number, making them all the more potent, especially on "Four."
The Twister, Four, Pennies from Heaven, Cattin'
with Idrees Sulieman, Jackie McLean, Kenny Burrell, Mal Waldron, Paul Chambers, Arthur Taylor