A fine reissue of this 1957 session featuring Webster (ts, p), along with some of my favorite players: Oscar Peterson (p), Ray Brown (b), and Herb Ellis (g), along with Stan Levey (d) with whom I'm unfamiliar. Apparently Peterson, Brown and Ellis were together as a trio at this time. This CD adds three previously unreleased tracks to the original 7 and clocks in at a healthy 49+ minutes. The three bonus tracks represent the only known studio recordings featuring Webster on piano.
The tracks range from the smokey blues of the title track to more swinging upbeat numbers like "Late Date" (both Webster originals) to more romantic ballads such as "Time on My Hands." Webster's sax is incredibly compelling in all three contexts, and though I'm generally not a ballad fan, I find myself enjoying even the slower numbers. The blues and swing styles grab me more immediately, the ballads after a few listenings and at the right time of the day. Webster's piano on the three bonus tracks is in a sort of sloppy stride and boogie-woogie style, entertainingly not serious.
Herb Ellis' guitar playing ranges from quiet, melodic hollowbody sounds to scratchy, distorted electric blues. I almost wonder if some of the distortion is in the transfer (it sounds like tape saturation or clipping), though the rest of the instruments sound fine, so probably not. It's a great sound, though a bit unusual in this setting. Oscar Peterson's fills and support playing also makes the range with some great blues backings and a few excellent solo excursions. Levey's drumming is adequate, but doesn't really stand out (which maybe it needn't do in this company).