First Session is just that: the first material Grant Green recorded as a leader for Blue Note in 1960. While the results were certainly good, the label chose to shelf the recordings. Producer Alfred Lion may have had some misgivings about the results, but it is doubtful that Green's fans or jazz guitar fans will have any such qualms. Pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones join him on the first five cuts. They start with the spunky "He's a Real Gone Guy," but really hit their groove with the 11-minute original "Seepin'." Green's guitar is shot through with the blues on this slow burner, while Chambers' bass perfectly captures the late-night mood of this piece. Green seems unsure of his footing at the beginning of Sonny Rollins "Sonnymoon for Two," but quickly regains his balance and swings hard. Kelly's light, bluesy touch offers the perfect match for the artist's guitar; his lovely fills offer the perfect backdrop, while his solos are always distinctive. The last two tracks are multiple versions of "Woody 'N' You" with pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Billy Higgins. While these tracks are not technically the first sessions, they do give the listener a chance to hear Green and Clark work together. Whatever hesitation Green may have felt as a first time leader, the warmth and immediacy of his style arrives in full bloom. First Session is a lively portrait of a jazz great, surrounded by the best musicians in the business, getting his feet wet. Don't miss it. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.