On two successive days in 1961, Gene Ammons entered Rudy Van Gelder's studios and recorded enough material for a pair of albums Up Tight and Boss Soul. Since Ammons was incarcerated on drug charges at the time of their release, these excellent collections of his playing were generally overlooked; joined here, in the sequence of original recording, they provide further testimony to this boss tenor's endless creativity. This is Ammons in his trio-plus-congas groove, caressing ballads, burrowing into the blues, and, especially on the second session, displaying exceptional taste in underrecorded material. While all of the accompanists turn in fine work, the percussive mesh displayed by Art Taylor and Ray Barretto is as marvelous as the tenor playing it supports.
The Breeze and I, Carbow, Moonglow, I'm Afraid the Masquerade Is Over, I'm Beginning to See the Light, Jug's Blue Blues, Lester Leaps In, The Five O'Clock Whistle, I Sold My Heart to the Junkman, Song of the Islands, Up Tight, Travelin', Soft Summer Breeze, Don't Go to Strangers
with Walter Bishop, Jr., Patti Bown, Arthur Davis, George Duvivier, Arthur Taylor, Ray Barretto