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Back On The Scene (1958)

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Louis Hayes

It's evident from the opening pair of Latin-flavored performances that Back on the Scene is one of Bennie Green's most diverse efforts. Green's warm, supple tone and fondness for swinging, bop-influenced mainstream jazz and jump blues hasn't disappeared; he's just found new facets in his style. The infectious Latin rhythms on Cole Porter's "I Love You" and "Melba's Mood" are welcome, as is "You're Mine You," which showcases Green's sensitive ballad style. Reviving the standard "Just Friends" emphasizes the trombonist's ties to big band and bop, particularly through tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse's strong solos. The jumping "Bennie Plays the Blues" and "Green Street" are also terrific, finding Green, Rouse and pianist Joe Knight trading full-bodied solos. Even with this vast array of styles, Back on the Scene retains all the good-natured spirit and humor of his earlier Prestige albums. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine