As much as these cats have made their names in various vocal groups and such, instrumentals are where they really shine, here aided on a few tracks by the illustrious Randy Bachman (Guess Who, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, etc.), who turns in the only two vocals on the entire disc, both cool takes on Mose Allison chestnuts Your Mind is on Vacation and Everybody's Crying Mercy.
Allison isn't the only one enjoying enshrinement, though. There are several classics, and the entire sound is unbelievably vintage, a dip back into the old Blue Note / Sun / Capitol days when very hip musicians ruled and bands knew how to suh-wing! The dominant mode, nonetheless, is highly inflected slowburn with medium rhythms a la Grant Green, Kenny Burrell, that sort of player. Broadway picks up the tempo, with great drumwork from Gordon Grottenthaler, but there's a lot more of the Steve Cropper vibe omnipresent than otherwise, a tone halfway between jazz and 50s rock.
If you're keen on the Stray Cats and Squirrel Nut Zippers, this is where they got their inspiration, from this kind of music, from its guitarists and finger-snapping hipsters. Much of this is also what George Benson was doing for CTI before he became big, a period many, myself included, prefer to his later Breezin era, as good as that was. Not a cut on this disc is less than pristine, it's all drop dead perfect and oozing with chops all too rare. So fidelitious to the style is each player that you can only barely tell 'em apart…and even then you have to have an excellent ear for individual nuance in three different voices (four when Bachman cops a lead during Shivers).
There's a bit of a philosophical problem here, though. Little Bitty Pretty One, a standard now passed into public domain, was written by Bobby Day. Here, the Summit Trio literally claims it as their own. I'm not sure you're s'posed to do that. After all, passing into non-copyright status does not erase the writer's credit for creating a song…as I'm sure the player-composers here would very quickly acknowledge were their own credits to be hoisted thuswise. C'mon, guys, don't Jimmy Page us.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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