The Johnny Hodges-Wild Bill Davis Project, Vol. 4. BLUE HODGE (LP). This out-of-print LP (which has not yet been reissued on CD) is the earliest of several matchups between altoist Johnny Hodges and organist Wild Bill Davis. With the assistance of Les Spann on guitar and flute, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes, Hodges and Davis mostly stick to fresh material, including three then-recent originals by Gary McFarland. Highlights include "Azure Te," "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dream" and "There Is No Greater Love," in addition to some swinging blues.
Recorded during his five year "vacation" from Duke Ellington's orchestra, this Johnny Hodges set features his band sticking mostly to standards. With trumpeter Harold "Shorty" Baker, trombonist Lawrence Brown, baritonist Harry Carney, pianist Call Cobbs, or Richie Powell, bassist John Williams, drummer Louis Bellson, and either Jimmy Hamilton or John Coltrane (who unfortunately does not solo) on tenor, Hodges had a particularly strong group. High points include "On the Sunny Side of the Street," the title track and a seven-song ballad medley.
These distinctive small-group sessions, featuring Duke Ellington as pianist in a blues context, are part of a group of recordings issued under the confusing titles Back to Back and Side by Side, and further reissued under the not particularly distinctive name of Blues Summit. But there should be no confusion about the high quality of music that came out of these sessions – it is all "cooking with gas" as the expression goes. From the jazz world, it would be difficult to find more profound soloists on traditional blues numbers than the Duke or his longtime collaborator Johnny Hodges, who does some of the most soulful playing of his career here.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Great work by this legendary hard swinging band – an early 60s American album issued on Atlantic Records, in the years before the Clark Boland Band's legendary run on MPS! Despite the early date, the album's got all the core elements of the band's sound in place – soaring rhythms, sharp-edged frontlines, and some great solo work by players who include Benny Bailey, Derek Humble, Jimmy Woode, Shahib Shihab, Idrees Sulieman, and Fats Sadi – coming together in a brilliant trans-Atlantic meeting of jazz talents! Tracks include "Long Note Blues", "Speedy Reeds", "Sonor", and "Om Mani Padme Hum".
That this rare album was originally released only in Europe testifies to the dominance of jazz-rock in 1971 and not to the staggering quantity of imagination that one hears on the session today. Still co-leading his legendary European unit (this was their last recording), Francy Boland unleashed his classical training to produce dazzling, fantastically complex writing often loaded with dissonances, unusual groupings of instruments, freeform freakouts, alternating sections in 5/4 and 4/4, loose-jointed structures, and firestorm endings. Yet Getz's great ear picks everything up intuitively; his solos, though brief in playing time, are loaded with sometimes strident emotion and occasionally flirt with the outside…