The idea behind this album was a simple one:
Take the five-piece group led by the two greatest drummers in jazz, put them face to face in a recording studio, provide them with arrangements for the ensemble choruses, then let them blow...

The result is an exciting series of challenges between the instrumentalists, with an emphasis on the skills of both leaders. Buddy Rich and Max Roach opened up all the stops in a friendly-but-furious contest. This album was recorded in the space of two days early in the spring of 1959.

Figure Eights
At the end of two days's recording, they came up with a bonus. It was suggested to Buddy and Max that they go back to the drums and play three choruses of alternate eight-bar solos without any of the other musicians participating. They agreed, but so heated did the exchange become that they went on for more than four minutes. It is preserved here in its entirety as Figure Eights

Sing Sing Sing
First Solo by Buddy Rich, second by Max Roach, harmonic line provided by Bobby Boswell

Limehouse Blues
Bunch intro, then Roach plays sticks on the first chorus. In order come solos from Woods, Dennis, N. Turrentine, S. Turrentine, Priester, and Bunch. Rich then plays 16 bars with Phil Leshin, after which Roach plays 16 with Boswell. Roach again is on sticks on the final chorus.

Introduction and first chorus by Bunch, with Buddy Rich on cowbell, second drum solo by Rich, with Roach on cymbal. Solos by Woods, Dennis, S. Turrentine, and Priester follow.

Left Channel:
Buddy Rich Quintet
Willie Dennis - Trombone
Phil Woods - Alto - Sax
John Bunch - Piano
Phil Leshin - Bass

Right Channel:
Max Roach Quintet
Tommy Turrentine - Trumpet
Stanley Turrentine - Tenor Sax
Julian Priester - Trombone
Bobby Boswell - Bass
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This page was built with the great help of Clive John Grove

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