At a time when the flute was still struggling for acceptance as a jazz instrument, Herbie Mann showed both imagination and guts in conceiving this 1957 album. He plays alto flute on half of the tracks and bass clarinet on one more, creates a most uncommon front line for the sextet numbers with Urbie Green's trombone and Jack Nimitz doubling baritone sax and bass clarinet, and employs the guitar of his frequent collaborator Joe Puma rather than piano in the rhythm section. The arrangements (by Mann, Puma, and Nat Pierce) take full advantage of the ensemble, the tune choices are superior (including the title track, a rare bit of 1947 Ellingtonia), and there is plenty of room for the great Oscar Pettiford (who also contributed the now-classic blues "Swing Till the Girls Come Home"). It all proves that, even before embarking on his numerous cross-cultural fusions, Herbie Mann (1930-2003) was an explorer.
with Jack Nimitz, Urbie Green, Joe Puma, Oscar Pettiford, Charlie Smith