Recorded after one of McGhee’s not infrequent releases from the Penitentary on narcotics charges, hence the title “The Return Of ….”
Howard McGhee is a wonderful agile soloist, a model for the younger Kenny Dorham. Sharing the spotlight with McGhee is Sahib Shihab on baritone sax, what more can you ask? Lots of baritone solos, and few on alto for variety, Sahib’s presence is not to be overlooked. That angry baritone rasp is so compelling – both Sahib and Pepper Adams showed what could be achieved with this weighty length of brass plumbing if you played it as though it was a tenor or indeed alto, and just ran with the changes, Charlie Parker on steroids.
Duke Jordan ’s solid chordal foundations, embellished with glittering runs, is always pushing the tempo along, with “Philly Joe” and Percy Heath picking up any slack. Bop of a very high order from the post-swing cauldron that was 1955.