2 LPs on 1 CD
When these recordings were made in early 60s, trumpeter Blue Mitchell was already a mature artist: a thoughtful musician with an individual voice, who had made a name with Horace Silver s quintet from 1958 onwards. Both Smooth as the Wind and A Sure Thing were true hallmarks in his career. Designed to show all his talents, in them he is supported by two large and fascinatingly seductive settings. The first is a summation of the tonal color, lyricism, and good taste that marked Mitchell s playing up to that point. Benny Golson and Tadd Dameron wrote and conducted the skilled strings-and-brass orchestrations. While Golson provides more space for the soloist and arranges pretty little backdrops for him to play off, Dameron supplies intricate patterns of voicing and musical shifts.
The second album presents Mitchell in a vigorous and well-balanced set of arrangements scored and conducted by Jimmy Heath. Apart from Mitchell, one of the most melodic trumpeters of his generation, Heath (on tenor) is the other main soloist, in virile and inventive form throughout. Baritonists Pepper Adams on Blue on Blue, and Pat Patrick on Hip to It, also contribute a couple of tough, passionate solos, while Wynton Kelly is the personification of self-assurance, good taste, and unabated swing throughout.