This is one of the most essential hard bop purchases in the canon. The performances of Pearson -- of his own four tunes, five by Byrd, and the standards -- showcase his improvisational acumen at its height. His soloing on studio records pales in comparison. This was a hot quintet, one that not only swung hard, but possessed a deep lyricism and an astonishing sense of timing, and one need only this set by them to feel the full measure of their worth. Forget the Riverside date that caught them live early on; this is the one.