Label: Verve Records
This 1956 set wasn't Q's debut as a leader but it was the first widely available showcase for his amazing big band (which gets even better here with the inclusion of such featured guests as Charles Mingus and Milt Jackson). The opener "Walkin'" is the clear highlight of the set (and it serves almost as a modern jazz primer) allowing everyone a chance to solo. That said, tunes like "A Sleepin' Bee" and "Evening in Paris" share the same buoyant cheer. Like all good jazz arrangers, Q knows how to draw many colors out of his large ensemble while having them often sound (and swing) like a small group.