Shelly Manne's inquiring mind and adventuresome spirit made him a band leader unlikely to settle into a familiar repertoire. He was on a constant search for challenging material. Sometimes he found it in unlikely show tunes, sometimes in unorthodox approaches to standard songs. For the music on this album, he encouraged innovation from three performer-composers in the Los Angeles jazz community of the mid-1950s. The pieces Charlie Mariano, Jim Hall, and Russ Freeman contributed made an album whose freshness remains undiminished. Mariano's suite The Gambit occupies more than half of the CD. Unconventional and demanding, it inspired all of the soloists especially Mariano to some of their best playing of the period. Jim Hall's invention on the blues, "Tom Brown's Buddy," is another classic from Manne's discography.
with Stu Williamson, Charlie Mariano, Russ Freeman, Monty Budwig