Booker Ervin's recordings with Charles Mingus and Randy Weston brought him good reviews and a bit of notoriety. But it was his series of Song Books for Prestige Records that broadcast the stentorian announcement that a jazz orator of gigantic stature had arrived. Ervin's tenor saxophone sound was haunted by the loneliness and spaciousness of the Texas plains where he was raised. The Southwest moan was an integral part of his playing. But his style went beyond the classic Texas tenor tradition to incorporate the intricacies of bebop and suggestions of the free jazz that was initiating one of the periods of self-renewal that keeps jazz fresh and interesting. The Freedom Book, recorded at the end of 1963, was one of Ervin's masterpieces. He is abetted by the power and drive of Jaki Byard, Richard Davis, and Alan Dawson.