Uncut (9/01, p.87) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Scorching playing..."
Personnel includes: George Benson (vocals, guitar); Lonnie Smith (Hammond organ); King Curtis (tenor saxophone); Ron Cuber (baritone saxophone); Blue Mitchell (trumpet); Bennie Green (trombone); Ray Lucas, Jimmy Lovelace, Marion Booker, Billy Kaye (drums).
Recorded in New York, New York in 1966. Originally released on Columbia Records (746409413). Includes liner notes by George Benson.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
The second of Benson's John Hammond-produced albums is far and away the superior of the pair, mixing down-to-basics, straight-ahead jazz with soul-drenched grooving. Suddenly Benson's backup group - same as that of Uptown, with Benny Green added on trombone now and then - has found its bearings and apropos to the title, they can cook, even sizzle. The effect upon Benson's own playing is striking; with something to react against, his sheer ability to swing advances into the realm of awesome. The rapid-fire work on "The Cooker" and "Ready And Able" will make you gasp. Only one vocal here, an exuberant "All Of Me." [In mid-2001 Columbia/Legacy reissued this 1966 classic, along with It's Uptown, recorded only several months earlier. Four bonus tracks include a (previously unreleased) doo wop vocal rendition of Little Willie John's "Let Them Talk" and two Benson originals that are pure rock-n-roll: "The Man from Toledo" and "Goodnight." Two of the bonus cuts are preceded by control-booth comments from the session's legendary producer, John Hammond.] ~ Richard S. Ginell