Barney Kessel fans have been wondering for years when Let's Cook! would finally see the light of day on CD. It's no wonder. The master guitarist was at a creative, swinging peak in these 1957 recordings. Kessel, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Shelly Manne were the core group for two bands whose brilliance was dazzling. Hampton Hawes and Victor Feldman were both great pianists, but here Feldman played vibes, an instrument on which he was equally accomplished. In two long and unusually satisfying performances, Kessel teamed with trombonist Frank Rosolino, tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, and pianist Jimmy Rowles. They blended so well that it sounded as if they had rehearsed for weeks. In fact, the session happened by chance. Their customized arrangement of "Tiger Rag" and the solos it inspired are alone worth the price of admission.
with Victor Feldman, Hampton Hawes, Leroy Vinnegar, Shelly Manne, Ben Webster, Frank Rosolino, Jimmy Rowles