The title of this 1979 all-star session should be taken with a grain of salt. A combination of six such creative talents could hardly produce slick results, and the participants came together from points far beyond the five boroughs. (J.J. Johnson was in the midst of his Hollywood soundtrack composing, and Art Farmer was then based in Vienna.) Ron Carter, who has rarely been so selfless in the solo space he allots guests, prepared an inspiring environment with his unimpeachable time and his eloquent compositions; and Farmer and Hubert Laws in particular respond with some of their freshest playing of the period. Carter's skill as writer and leader are manifest in the singular flugelhorn/trombone/flute blend of the front line, his exceptional command of the jazz waltz ("A Slight Smile"), and the challenging wrinkles he works into the final two blowing numbers.
with Art Farmer, J.J. Johnson, Hubert Laws, Kenny Barron, Jay Berliner, Ralph MacDonald, Billy Cobham