Thursday, December 27, 2012

Frank Wess & Johnny Coles - Two At The Top 2CD (Uptown Records 2012)

(2-CD set) Frank Wess describes the 1983 Uptown studio recording Two At The Top with Johnny Coles by saying, ''That's one of the best efforts I ever did.'' Wess and Coles first appeared together for Uptown on the Philly Joe Jones Dameronia album, To Tadd With Love. Their collaboration as sidemen with the drummer morphed into Two At The Top and they subsequently appeared live with the quintet at Sweet Basil in New York City as well as Yoshi's in Oakland, CA. Disc one presents the original Rudy Van Gelder recording with one new tune (Tadd Dameron's A Blue Time) and 5 unissued alternates. Disc two features a live set from their 1988 date at Yoshi's backed by an outstanding West Coast rhythm section - Two At The Top indeed!
Studio personnel are saxophonist Frank Wess, Trumpeter Johnny Coles, pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Reggie Johnson and drummer Kenny Washington. The live disc features trumpeter Johnny Coles, saxophonist Frank Wess, pianist Smith Dobson, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Donald 'Duck' Bailey.