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Reseña de álbum
Johnny Hodges' 1950 Parisian Vogue recordings — augmented here with four sides waxed in Copenhagen for the Danish Tono label — form a prologue to the records Hodges would make with Norman Granz from 1951-1955. The band heard on the first five tracks was essentially a condensed Ellington group with Don Byas sitting in and Raymond Fol at the piano. "Last Leg Blues" is a saucy, loping exercise in two parts that incorporates at one point a lick from "Tuxedo Junction." This is a good example of what seems at first like an almost too simple musical idea bearing incredible fruit, Jimmy Hamilton's clarinet and Hodges' alto working it up handsomely into an impressive exploration of the blues. Composed by Hamilton, the feisty, bop-like "Nix It, Mix It" is one of the most exciting tracks included here. "Time on My Hands" feels like an oasis of lyrical familiarity among so many relatively uncomplicated melodies designed for jamming rather than reflection. Hamilton, Byas, and Hodges communicate wonderfully during this gorgeous ballad. Three of the four Danish recordings feature vocalist Chubby Kemp, whose slightly nasal voice sounds like Anita Love or maybe even Little Esther Phillips if she'd sung jazz. "Tea for Two" is a pleasant surprise, with Hamilton's clarinet sending up bubbles over Quentin "Butter" Jackson's mellifluous trombone during the opening. Hodges and Hamilton both deliver spirited solos and the antiquated Vincent Youmans confection grows into something intricate, ornate, and exhilarating. Back in Paris with the band scaled down to a sextet, Hodges led his men through a stunning rendition of Juan Tizol's "Perdido," eased them into "Mood Indigo," "Sweet Lorraine," and the 19th century melody "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree," here rendered into a smooth, cool exercise in swing. "Rendez-Vous at the Hot Club" moves briskly and swings hard. With the session of January 15, 1951, Hodges was back on American soil, initiating a collaborative relationship with producer Norman Granz that would continue through 1955 and occasionally rekindle over the years. According to Stanley Dance, "You Blew Out the Flame in My Heart" was given the erroneous title "Rabbit's Blues" in an early recording ledger, and the misnomer continues to resurface in discographies to this very day. Over the next five years, Hodges would record an enormous amount of material for the Mercury, Clef, and Norgran labels, often relying upon tenor saxophonist Al Sears to help steer the operation as the music evolved into relative modernity while rooted in strong elements of blues, ballads, and swing.
Nacido(a): 25 de julio de 1907 en Cambridge, MA
Años de actividad: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s
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