Roy Haynes, Phineas Newborn, Paul Chambers - We Three (1959), 7/10

One of the best jazz releases from the fifties, and an expertly crafted and executed recording. This group of musicians is an outstanding bunch of performers separately and an even more formidable powerhouse together. Right at the start, the opener "Reflection" is one of the most memorable, sweet, and infectious jazz melodies of all time; far and above one of the stronger bebop tracks you can find bar none. "Solitaire" has a wonderfully soothing essence that is hard to come by, especially coming after the perfect setup from "Sugar Ray", then launching into the wonderfully bold yet nuanced statement that is "After Hours". We also get some classic grooving improvisation in "Our Delight" that lives up to its name and provides refreshing energy to an otherwise technical few passages. We Three is a great example of three legendary jazz musicians coming together to produce a recording brimming with simple, optimistic charm without losing its subtle, graceful touches. While some tracks have more or less memorable hooks, they do not rely on simple melodic drive for their value, as much bebop tends to, but rather continue to explore the boundaries and fringe of traditional jazz interpretation. Of course, it is not the most complex recording, but finds beauty in subtle touches of technicality and indirect details hidden among its intersecting harmonies. If nothing else, and even if you disagree concerning its importance, We Three can be both thrilling and seductively charming and deserves praise for its comprehensive capturing of bebop in its prime form. All three of these musicians so often provide individual highlights to each interpretation that it would be silly to point out any one, they are frequented all over the track list, consistently adding subtle and obvious touches of finesse to each composition. We Three is an expertly executed collaboration with outstanding depth and breadth of methodology, and has earned its place among the best of the decade.