In the years 1965-66 Woody was a member of the Horace Silver Quintet, and this was his first recording with the group. The other members of the band at this time were Joe Henderson on tenor sax, Bob Cranshaw on bass, Roger Humphries on drums, and of course Horace Silver on piano. J J Johnson also guests on trombone for three numbers. This album was recorded only a month before Woody and Joe Henderson played on Larry Young’s Unity, and the music is far more straight-ahead. Woody proves himself to be a fine hard bop trumpet player – just as on Eric Dolphy’s Iron Man he sounds at times like Lee Morgan and at others like Freddie Hubbard. However, most of his solos contain relatively conventional changes playing. His playing is often bluesy too, especially on the slower numbers. The only tune on which he explores more adventurous harmonic territory is the second tune, The African Queen.
I think that at this time Woody was pursuing various experimental ideas about harmony and improvisation (as shown by his playing on Unity a month later), but he felt the Horace Silver Quintet was not the place to try out these ideas. For one thing, Silver would have been 37 in 1965, 16 years older than Woody, and had already established himself as a big name in the jazz world. Whereas Woody, a young 21 year old, was still finding his way as a musician, and will have wanted to play in a style fitting with that of his band leader, saving his experimental ideas for sessions with more forward thinking musicians such as Larry Young.