When a jazz fan begins to hum "Flying Home", the chances are that his buddy will cry out: »Hey, I know that tune – it’s "Flying Home" by Lionel Hampton with a fantastic solo by Illinois Jacquet!« Seldom is a solo so closely associated with its soloist. Throughout his career, Jacquet, who was born of a Sioux mother and a Creole father, played marvellous swing music. He was famed for his imaginative improvisations, and gave brilliant shows with the Count Basie orchestra and at a number of Jazz At The Philharmonic concerts.
The man from Louisiana performed swing at every live appearance – no wonder, then, that Norman Granz chose this theme as the title of the present recording, which was set down in October 1956. This time, however, Jimmy Jones on the piano was not responsible for providing the background for a vocal soloist; rather he delivers airy chords for the swinging tenor sax.
That all the musicians are superb interpreters of ballads is testified to in "Harlem Nocturne", where Illinois Jacquet’s sound can best be described as 'soulful'. In stark contrast to this is "Achtung", where the tempo sheer takes your breath away! The programme closes with an distinguished version of the classic "Have You Met Miss Jones", and the swing title-number par excellence, "Lullaby Of The Leaves".
So much has been written and discussed about swing; but if you want to know what it is all about, just put this record on the turntable and lower the needle into the groove. Say nothing – only listen!