Q (3/95, p.112) - 3 Stars - Good - "...Although democratically spreading the solo opportunities, Brown still staggers with several lengthy blows....Frequently changing tack, his constantly inventive spew of ideas explores every avenue fully, soaking up that night's atmospere."
Jazziz (2/95, p.91) - "...the crowd seems to know that they were witnessing a classic performance....Clifford Brown's final gig....this is an essential CD for all serious jazz collections..."
Personnel: Clifford Brown (trumpet); Chris Powell (vocals, percussion); Vance Willson (alto & tenor saxophones); Ziggy Vines, Billy Root (tenor saxophone); Duke Wells, Sam Dockery (piano); Eddie Lambert (guitar); James Johnson, Ace Tisone (bass); Osie Johnson, Ellis Tollin (drums).
Producer: Don Schlitten.
Reissue producer: Lawrence Cohn.
Recorded in Chicago, Illinois on March 21, 1952 and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 25, 1956. Includes liner notes by Dan Morgenstern.
Digitally remastered by David Mitson (Sony Music Studios, Los Angeles, California).
The Beginning and the End has some incredible music. Trumpeter Clifford Brown is heard at the beginning of his tragically brief career, taking solos on a pair of R&B sides by Chris Powell's Blue Flames. The remainder of the package features Brown on the last night of his life, just a few hours before his death in a car accident. Performing in his hometown of Philadelphia before a loving crowd, the 25-year-old is heard playing at his absolute peak. He performs "Walkin" with a local sextet that includes Billy Root on tenor and pianist Sam Dockery (a future member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers), "A Night in Tunisia" with a quintet, and concludes both his night and his career with a quartet rendition of "Donna Lee" that is simply brilliant. Brown's death was one of the great tragedies in jazz history and his "goodbyes" to the audience are ironic and, in retrospect, quite sad; don't listen to them twice. But Clifford Brown's playing on this date is so memorable that the LP is essential for all jazz collections. ~ Scott Yanow