In the early 1960s "soul-jazz piano" was a flourishing subgenre of the
then-highly popular, back-to-the-blues-roots soul-jazz movement, in which organ combos dominated. While Riverside Records and its Jazzland subsidiary didn’t completely corner the soul-jazz piano market, they were certainly well-invested by signing the gifted likes of Bobby Timmons and Junior Mance. Mance (b. 1928), Chicago-born and-raised, had preceded Timmons as pianist in the quintet led by altoist Cannonball Adderley, another major figure in soul-jazz and a longtime Riverside artist. Like Timmons’s style, the predominant shade in Mance’s musical palette was post-bop blue. On the two LPs joined here--Mance’s first and third albums for Jazzland (the second was a live date)--his thorough mastery of the blues’s sundry hues is manifest, as is his good taste in other material, ranging from Cole Porter and the Gershwins to Monk. Backed empathetically by two different bass-drums teams, Junior Mance delivers a series of series of stirring performances that confirm his seniority in the realm of soul-jazz, and beyond.
with Jimmy Rowser, Ben Tucker, Bobby Thomas, Paul Gusman