A popular yet underrated tenor saxophonist, Jimmy Forrest is featured in several different settings on this 1998 CD reissue. Forrest matches wits with fellow tenors King Curtis and Oliver Nelson on "Soul Street" (his opening phrase is a classic), plays three standards (including an effective "Sonny Boy") with a combo that includes pianist Hugh Lawson and is featured on "I Wanna Blow, Blow, Blow" with a nonet also featuring trombonist Buster Cooper.
Jimmy Forrest was a very consistent tenor, able to infuse bop and swing standards with soul and his distinctive tone. With the assistance of pianist Hugh Lawson, bassist Tommy Potter, drummer Clarendon Johnson and Ray Barretto on congas, Forrest explores mostly veteran tunes, such as a jumping "Annie Laurie," and the calypso "Matilda," a sentimental "My Buddy," "Robbins Nest," and even "Sonny Boy." Enjoyable music from the warm tenor.
Jimmy Forrest had a tremendous hit in 1951 with "Night Train," a simple blues riff he lifted from Duke Ellington's "Happy Go Lucky Local." Although the tenorman was not able to duplicate that song's appeal with any other recording, he was a popular performer in the R&B circuit throughout the 1950s. Virtually all of his records from the era (originally made for the United label) are on this CD reissue, including five selections not previously released.
This was the first album that tenor saxophonist Jimmy Forrest made after his R&B phase ended. Particularly notable is that the set served as the recording debut of guitarist Grant Green; completing the band are pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Gene Ramey and drummer Elvin Jones. The top-notch group performs two ballads, "Caravan" and three basic Forrest originals, including the title cut. The music is essentially melodic and blues-based hard bop that looks toward soul-jazz. Everyone sounds in fine form.
This 1972 LP (recorded at 1959), a complement to All the Gin Is Gone, released the remainder of tenor saxophonist Jimmy Forrest's two Delmark sessions, including four alternate takes and five other songs. Forrest sounds fine, guitarist Grant Green was making his debut on record, and the rhythm section (pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Gene Ramey and drummer Elvin Jones) plays up to par. Get All the Gin Is Gone first, and then, if one wants to hear the rest of the story, this set.