Throughout the preceding decade, on sessions for both Blue Note and Riverside, Blakey had supported Monk on various occasions. Monk returned the favor on this one-off session for Atlantic. Blakey was on the verge of beginning a long-term contract with Blue Note, while Monk was in the middle of his stay on Riverside.
One month after these recordings, Monk would begin his summer and autumn residency at the Five Spot on Cooper Square after regaining his cabaret card, without which he had been barred from playing in most of New York City's clubs. Monk's quartet featuring John Coltrane at that residency would bring Monk fame beyond the inner circle of jazz aficionados. Atlantic would release this album over a year after it was recorded, thereby capitalizing on Monk's increased visibility.
Billboard in 1958 gave the album three stars out of four, stating that it has some "mighty good jazz".AllMusic gave the album a four-star rating out of a possible five stars, with writer Lindsay Planer noting that "both co-leaders are at the peak of their respective prowess with insightful interpretations of nearly half a dozen inspired performances from this incarnation of the Blakey-led Jazz Messengers."The Penguin Guide to Jazz assigned its "crown" accolade to the album.