The orchestrating skills that made Lennie Niehaus a prolific writer for Hollywood films can be heard clearly in this 1955 encounter of L.A.’s finest jazz artists and a string quartet. By choosing to use three violas and cello, Niehaus gives the strings a richness that complements his alto, and he achieves particularly striking colors when two more saxophones are added to the ensemble. Four tracks with a more familiar quintet instrumentation leaven the string numbers. While the leader’s nimble horn is the main solo voice, there are spots from such valuable sidemen as pianist Hampton Hawes (burning through the aptly-named "More Than the Blues") and baritone saxophonist Bob Gordon (on the "Tea for Two" variant "Full House").
with Christopher Kuzell, Thomas Hall, Barbara Simons, Charlotte Harrison, Monty Budwig, Shelly Manne, Bill Perkins, Bob Gordon, Stu Williamson, Hampton Hawes