As the title implies, this was Warren’s first date under his own name, recorded one year before ‘Blues Walk’ on Dreamstreet. It serves to show how good he already was by the end of 1976 (he had by this time toured with Goodman), but to my mind the record is unsatisfactorily programmed for listening pleasure.
The whole of the first side has Warren backed by Bucky, and although they meld, and play some varied numbers, these duets would have sounded better interspersed with the band tracks to add variety. Two takes of the early Louis vehicle Once In A While adds interest, while Joy Spring would surely have pleased its composer Clifford Brown; and possibly Ruby Braff too!
Side two seems to get more frantic as it progresses, and the opener is overall the best played track. Warren sounds just right, Kenny is great and there is some good Bucky, admirably backed by Wayne Wright. However, even the sleeve note comments on the wild All Of Me, a track which gives the impression of having been rushed to avoid overtime.
Throughout the album Warren explores the range of the instrument, knows where he is going, chooses with care, and his tone is warm. An acceptable premiere for someone who will be a force to contend with before long.
(a) Black Butterfly; Joy Spring; I Didn’t Know What Time It Was; Once In A While; Chelsea Bridge (17.58) – (b) Oh, Baby; I Surrender, Dear; Song Of The Wanderer; All Of Me (20.24)
(a) Warren Vaché (c); Bucky Pizzarelli (g). N.Y.C., 22/11/76. (b) as (a) add Kenny Davern (ss); Wayne Wright (g); Mike Moore (b); Connie Kay (d). N.Y.C., 6/12/76.
(Monmouth Evergreen MES 7081)