Although Way Out! was recorded in New York, the album's accent is on tenor titan Johnny Griffin's native Chicago. Windy City bassist Wilbur Ware plays, in the words of Down Beat reviewer Richard Hadlock, "uncommonly creative solos," and five of the six selections are from the pens of Chicagoans. Griffin, producer Orrin Keepnews notes, "puts across the full impact of his intricacy and dexterity of ideas and of fingering here without having to resort to blazing tempos. But just to show what he can do way up there, he takes on that durable old warhorse, 'Cherokee,' for a fresh and dazzling display of fireworks."