Drummer Elvin Jones' 45th birthday (September 9, 1972) was a good excuse to record his group of the period. The results were originally released as a double-LP and have been reissued as two CDs with over an hour of new music added. Jones' pianoless quartet features two masterful saxophonists (both doubling on tenor and soprano) who at the time sounded very close to John Coltrane. Dave Liebman andSteve Grossman were among the first young saxophonists not closely associated with Coltane who used his style as a starting point in their search for their own musical identities. Their high-powered and sometimes rowdy flights are consistently stimulating. With Gene Perla's alert, sensitive, and inventive bass holding the unit together, Elvin Jones was able to play as free as he desired. The first volume (taken from three sets at the Lighthouse) has six fiery selections, four of which were previously unreleased.
The second of two CDs featuring music recorded at the Lighthouse during a marathon session is the equal of the first. Greatly expanded from the original two-LP set, this disc has a pair of selections from the two-fer ("Sweet Mama" and "The Children, Save the Children") and three performances ("I'm a Fool to Want You," "Britt Piece," and the 28-and-a-half-minute "Children's Merry-Go-Round") that were previously unreleased at the time of this 1990 package. Dave Liebman (on tenor and soprano) is heard in one of his finest pre-Miles Davis recordings; the young tenor Steve Grossman keeps up with him, and bassist Gene Perla acts as a bridge between the fiery saxophonists and explosive drummer Elvin Jones. Exciting and adventurous music that stretches the boundaries of modal hard bop jazz.