Q (8/94, p.123) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...the music proclaims its label and era, with tight ensemble work, brassy polish and gutsy emotional mood..."
Down Beat (p.73) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The playing throughout is decidedly crisp, and the five-horn octet happily light-footed. It all wears very well."
Personnel: Duke Pearson (piano); Freddie Hubbard (trumpet); Garnett Brown (trombone); Jerry Dodgion (alto saxophone, flute); James Spaulding (alto saxophone); Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone); Gene Taylor (bass); Grady Tate (drums).
Producer: Francis Wolff.
Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on September 13, 1967. Originally released on Blue Note (BST 84267). Includes original liner notes by Nat Hentoff.
Duke Pearson rises to the challenge of writing for an all-star octet (with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, trombonist Garnett Brown, altoist James Spaulding, Jerry Dodgion on alto and flute, Stanley Turrentine on tenor, bassist Gene Taylor, drummer Grady Tate, and the leader/pianist), contributing colorful frameworks and consistently challenging compositions. The set is full of diverse melodies (the CD reissue has a previously unissued take of "Los Malos Hombres") played by a variety of distinctive soloists; many of these songs deserve to be revived. This is one of the finest recordings of Duke Pearson's career. ~ Scott Yanow