"This is an album that no Jazz fan should miss. It's another 1957 album (but, how many Jazz albums did the record industry produced that year? I guess thousands!) and this could be enough. But there's a lot more here. "The cats" is a strong release still considering that it came out in the Jazz magic year. It is one of those albums that immediatly catch your attention and that become one of those that you really can't stay too much time far from ... The line up is stellar: Flanagan piano, Coltrane tenor sax, Burrell guitar, Sulieman trumpet, Watkins doublebass, Louis Hayes drums. The program is terrific: the opener "Minor mishap" is a minor swinger similar to "Strode rode" from Rollins's "Saxophone colossus" for example. Sublime the band's interpretation of the Gershwin's classic ballad "How long has this been going on" (which can stand as "You don't know what love is" in Colossus .. and the similarities between these two albums are not ended...). Another wonderful tune is "Eclypso" another calypso tune similar to the one you can find in "Saxophone colossus", "St. Thomas". Last tune is a blues (again like in Colossus) and "Solacium" is a medium tempo hard bop thing (which can stand as "Moritat" in Colossus even if Moritat is a standard, it's "Mack the knife"). Who knows maybe Flanagan was responsible for the Colossus program too!!? Just Joking (but Flanagan did play in Colossus for real!), anyway believe me, in this album the atmosphere is just RIGHT, the one that every Jazz enthusiast search in a Jazz album. I don't have a favourite soloist among the guys here, sure Flanagan gives a great classic finesse to the overall balance, Burrell addedd some "funky" spice, Sulieman provided exceptionally clear trumpet solos and Coltrane, for once, is not too obtrusive. I mean he didn't play 48 choruses on each tune! Good! Great balance, great fifties Jazz record. You can buy it with confidence. Uh, the cover is soooooo cool !!!"
Easy Swinging jazz amongst furious players.
Leeman | PA Washington | 03/28/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The fact that Flanagan an easy swinger picked the furious John coltrane to makes this album exciting. Louis Hayes was about to become part of one of the great quintets of late fiftys and Sixties, the Horace Silver Quintet. Doug Watkins was another unfortune car crash victm who was steadily rivaling Paul Chambers. Cats Is an interesting album with an straight ahead swinging feel. Coltrane is the best player on the session, no doubt."
This is better than "Saxophone Colossus".
earl rlabaci | 10/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The rhythmn section is the same (Hayes for Roach) as "Sax Colossus", but Rollins is replaced by Coltrane, Burrell, and Sulieman. "Minor Mishap", is a unique composition and the only flaw is that it could have been played faster. "How long..." is a nice ballad and very different from others mostly because it is a duo. "Eclypso" is a swinger and solos are relaxed(even Tranes). This music is very under-rated and Flanagan was one of the few be-bop pianists to fool around with hardbop. If you like "Saxophone Colossus", which i'm sure you will, don't think twice and get this. It and "Saxophone Colossus" are my two favorite Prestige albums."
Hear the Cats Purr!
Roger Berlind | NY, USA | 01/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While Flanagan, Coltane, Burrell and Sulieman were given equal billing on the album cover, the excellent 1957 session featured on this CD was actually lead by pianist Tommy Flanagan. He wrote all the original tunes and was featured in a trio setting on the Gershwin song "How Long Has This Been Going On?"
My main reason for getting this album was the presence of Idrees Sulieman on trumpet. I consider him an outstanding and unfortunately under-rated trumpeter. I first discovered him on "The Hawk Flies High" by Coleman Hawkins and also have "Now is the Time" which he recorded in 1976. Of course, the other topnotch musicians on this album are probably well known to many of you already.
Based on the liner notes, "The Cats" could be viewed as both the name of the album and as the name of the group of musicians assembled for its recording. So, get this CD and har the cats purr! "
Matthew Watters | Vietnam | 02/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Themes like "Solacium" and "Minor Mishap" come pretty close to attaining that classic, stately Blue Note sound that you hear on albums like BLUE TRAIN or NEWK'S TIME, and Idrees Sulieman has to be one of the most underrated musicians of his time. Sulieman had this great Eldrige-like tone, but he also was incredibly adventuresome, experimenting with time and "wrong" notes in a way that would have made Monk smile. Perhaps put on a lower shelf critically because the circumstances of its making gave it a whiff of being just another Prestige Records "blowing" session -- maybe not a Tommy Flanagan-led session at all, this may in fact have just been Trane, Burrell and Sulieman blowing on some Flanagan heads -- this album nevertheless creates some real smokey, late-night magic. These CATS deserve to be put on the top shelf where they belong."