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Album Review

The 1966 meeting of alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges and pianist Earl Hines in the studio should be considered a cause for celebration for swing fans. Accompanied by a rhythm section including guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Joe Marshall, the two giants make magic together as they explore originals by each of the leaders, as well as gems from the Ellington songbook. Hines' "Caution Blues" (which is better known as "Blues in Thirds") serves as a mellow introduction. Hines shows off his still potent stride piano chops in his delightful "Stride Right," which causes everyone but Marshall to duck out except for the theme statements. But the two giants especially stimulate one another in the swinging take of Hines' well-known "Rosetta." Hodges moves to the forefront with the snappy rendition of "Perdido," which also has fine solos by Davis and Burrell. The alto saxophonist especially seems to enjoy the brisk pace of "I'm Beginning to See the Light." Hines incorporates Ellington's affinity for train-like licks with the improvised introduction to the swinging "'C' Jam Blues," which Hodges suggested that he repeat after he initially played it during their final chorus of "Perdido" earlier in the session. This highly recommended Verve LP is long overdue to be reissued on CD.

Customer Reviews

Just listen

It's great jazz!

Ellington Without Ellington

Beautifully recorded album.

Biography

Born: December 28, 1905 in Duquesne, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Once called "the first modern jazz pianist," Earl Hines differed from the stride pianists of the 1920s by breaking up the stride rhythms with unusual accents from his left hand. While his right hand often played octaves so as to ring clearly over ensembles, Hines had the trickiest left hand in the business, often suspending time recklessly but without ever losing the beat. One of the all-time great pianists, Hines was a major influence on Teddy Wilson, Jess Stacy, Joe Sullivan, Nat King...
Full Bio