One of the best big bands in jazz history, the Jones-Lewis Orchestra. This live date catches them in their prime. They debuted in 1966, and were quickly noticed by jazz insiders for their originality and virtuoso skills. Sonny Lester signed them and produced their recordings from their beginning. The band had it's own unique style, along the lines of big band swing, Bebop and Hard bop. The sound was powerful, fast, intellectual and fun to listen to. Their pieces required a high degree of skill to play. Thad Jones, an improvisational genius on the trumpet, led the group. Mel Lewis, co-leader, produced a drum style with the band that was unique for big bands; the extent in which he was able to incorporate the loose, open approach of small group playing was a major innovation. The orchestra was the most influential Big Band since the swing era. It was also an unusual band; creating new styles, succeeding in an era where big bands were out of favor, and remaining integrated during racially tense periods. The excellence of the musicians and the music they played has endured.