Donald Harrison plays quite well throughout this set, displaying a distinctive tone and a consistently creative style within the genre of straight-ahead jazz. All but the last two selections feature him accompanied by bassist Vicente Archer and drummer John Lamkin, both of whom stay very much in the background, often playing repetitive and somewhat dull figures. Pianist Glenn Patscha is on three numbers without making an impression, while the final two songs have Harrison joined by Ron Carter and Billy Cobham.
"All Right Now" is a single by the English rock band Free. The song, released in 1970, hit #2 on the UK singles chart and #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. "All Right Now" originally appeared on the album Fire and Water, which Free recorded on the Island Records label, formed by Chris Blackwell. In 1991, the song was remixed and re-released, reaching #8 on the UK singles chart…
On his second album for Impulse!, recorded August 18-September 24, 1998, Donald Harrison continues to proselytize for what he called "nouveau swing" on his first date for the label, even going so far as to sing/rap an explanation of his concept in "Nouveau Swing (Reprise)." Essentially, what he seems to mean by the term is that, within an acoustic quartet setting, he intends to introduce elements of a number of musical genres, for example covering the Meters' funk anthem "Cissy Strut" and having drummer John Lamkin use a reggae feel for "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," the Sigmund Romberg standard he previously recorded on For Art's Sake.
Band of Bees second album Free the Bees is a rollicking, breathtaking romp through the '60s, calling to mind classic band after classic band but also conjuring up a modern and original sound of their own. "These Are the Ghosts," the CD's opening track, gives us echoes of the psychedelic-era Small Faces, the Kinks circa Village Green Preservation Society, and even, at times, Pink Floyd circa Piper at the Gates of Dawn. There are moments on "No Atmosphere" where they sound like the Small Faces quoting the Beatles obliquely from Rubber Soul, and elsewhere it suddenly sounds as though the ghost of George Harrison has stepped into the studio to throw in some licks from a White Album jam. And incidentally, the studio in question where this album was cut was, indeed, EMI Studio No. 2, the very same that the Beatles used, so the Bees re-creating elements of the Beatles' sound is no accident. "Chicken Payback" sounds like some discovery from the vaults of Stax Records, except that it's not – it's an original, and it is original, and could pass for some 40-year-old Northern soul discovery. "The Russian" comes off like a piece of soundtrack music in search of a movie, circa Blow-Up, like for a chiller (The Deadly Bees, perhaps?) or spy picture where the producers couldn't afford John Barry.