This double-CD set gave bassist Milt Hinton an opportunity to engage in reunions with many of his old friends from the 1930s. The seven sessions were compiled during a 12-month period and the results are often delightful. The opening "Old Man Time" is sung by Hinton himself, and it is both insightful and humorous. The other highlights include Joe Williams singing "Four or Five Times" (which features some very rare Flip Phillips clarinet), three bass guitar duets with Danny Barker, appearances by Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry, Al Grey, Ralph Sutton, and the formation of a group called "The Survivors" that has guitarist Al Casey at age 75 being the youngest member; the latter band also includes 85-year-old trumpeter Doc Cheatham, Eddie Barefield, Buddy Tate and even Cab Calloway. A lot of storytelling takes place during the songs and, in addition to the 92½ minutes of music, there are two "Jazzspeaks." The 13-minute one features Hinton, Calloway, Cheatham and Barefield reminiscing about their experiences in the early days, while a marvelous 45-minute monologue by the bassist covers most of his long and productive life and is consistently fascinating. Highly recommended.
This cheerful holiday comedy, a surprise box office smash, featured a generous dollop of raunchy, crude humor and was greatly elevated by the presence of masterful performers in the lead roles. Jack Lemmon is John Gustafson, an ice-fishing Minnesota native who has been feuding with his neighbor and former best friend Max Goldman (Walter Matthau) for decades. The battle of wills between John and Max is characterized by crude name calling and harmless practical jokes. Max is unaware that John is having serious problems, chiefly that his daughter Melanie (Daryl Hannah) is experiencing marital woes and that his house is about to be confiscated by an officious IRS agent (Buck Henry). When it seems that John and Max may finally put aside their childish rivalry, however, sexy new neighbor Ariel (Ann-Margret) arrives and dates both men, pitting them against each other more fiercely than ever before. Despite their mutual loathing, the death of a friend, John's problems, and a budding romance between Max's son Jacob (Kevin Pollak) and Melanie may force the two old friends to reconcile.