The Record Collection

John Lewis: Grand Encounter: (Two Degrees East / Three Degrees West) (1956)

Pacific Jazz PJ 1217

Track list:

01 – Love Me or Leave Me
02 – I Can’t Get Started
03 – Easy Living
04 – Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West
05 – Skylark
06 – Almost Like Being in Love


Bill Perkins – Tenor Saxophone
John Lewis – Piano
Jim Hall – Guitar
Percy Heath – Bass
Chico Hamilton – Drums

Recorded in Los Angeles on February 10, 1956.

Producer: Richard Bock

Also known as Grand Encounter, this is considered one of the classic West Coast jazz recordings; it was last re-issued as a Pausa LP.

Tenor saxophonist Bill Perkins, whose tone never sounded cooler, teams up with pianist John Lewis, guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Chico Hamilton.

The title cut is a famous Lewis blues that epitomizes the era and is quite haunting.

Otherwise, the quintet plays five standards given chamber jazz treatment.

One could consider the set to be the Modern Jazz Quartet (Lewis and Heath) meets the Chico Hamilton Quintet (Hamilton and Hall) and cool jazz (Perkins).

In any case, the combination works very well and is quite memorable.
—Scott Yanow (Allmusic)