Bones and Bird - Head-to-Head
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When Charlie Parker and one of his disciples, Wardell Gray, go head-to-head, who wins? Why you do of course, lucky listener. While this battle lacks that special something Wardell had when facing down Dexter Gordon, this session does provide plenty of prime bebop. But wait, there's more! Trumpeter Howard McGhee, guitarist Barney Kessel and piano great Dodo Mamarosa provide great individual contributions and solid support. Bookending the Bones/Bird session are a Jubilee session where Wardell teams up with McGhee again, and joins Woody Herman, Jack Teagarden, Ted Nash and Herbie Steward on the bandstand for some blues trad/swing/bebop-style. Speaking of blues, Ivory Joe Hunter welcomes Wardell and Ernie Royal aboard for "We're Gonna Boogie"; and indeed they did. The set closes with Wardell taking a tasty blues chorus, this one behind Mr. B, Billy Eckstine. Dig that John Malachi."