Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Vol. 3-Feat Kenny Burrell-Mess of Blues
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Third installment in this four volume series from the celebrated jazzmen with deep Blues roots, a prolific musical team with exquisite chemistry. Volume Three includes the recordings in which guitarist Kenny Burrell played... more »
Third installment in this four volume series from the celebrated jazzmen with deep Blues roots, a prolific musical team with exquisite chemistry. Volume Three includes the recordings in which guitarist Kenny Burrell played with Wild Bill and Johnny (the complete LP Mess of Blues and three tracks from the LP Blue Rabbit). As a bonus contains the complete 1966 Johnny Hodges/Earl Hines LP Stride Right, also featuring Kenny Burrell. Lonehill.
MORE INDISPENSIBLE HODGES
W. BUTLER | NEVADA USA | 05/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After "Blue Hodge" another 2 years passed before Johnny Hodges and Wild Bill recorded their second album "Mess of Blues" (on the same day they made a very strange "pop" LP called "Sandy's Gone" - which luckily can be sampled on Lonehill's double CD in this series).
In between these 2 dates Johnny Hodges and Billy Strayhorn created their definitive Ellington/Hodges "greatest hits" LP. A recording perfectly capturing the sensation one had when sitting close to the Ellington band during his English concert tours in the late 50's and early 60's. But it still took 38 years for this masterwork to be issued on CD in 1999
Ten years earlier Verve placated the Hodges/Davis lobby with a poorly selected 13 tracks on one of their "Compact Jazz" series CD's. At the time one was grateful to have "anything" from the duo in digital sound. But Lonehill's transfers reveal the Dutch engineers produced lifeless copies of Verve's original recordings. (nor did they get the tune titles correct - their "Jones" was in fact "Stolen Sweets").
Making it apposite this CD starts with "Jones" - in incredibly vibrant sound - with Hodges's alto given additional echo and Wild Bill's organ recorded at full power - but never overwhelming Hodges or Kenny Burrell.
The only reservation one has about "Mess of Blues" is the allocation of tunes on the original LP. Side One was well balanced with 3 medium-tempo and one slow ballad. But Side Two had only 3 slow tunes - the first 2 sounding very similar. All beautifully played by Hodges but requiring much less interaction with Wild Bill. Perhaps in 1963 there was a big demand for uninterupted soothing Hodges in his slow-ballad mode - the longer the better?
Sadly Wild Bill is heard no more after Track 7 on this CD. But there is plenty to savour on the 3 tracks from "Blue Rabbit". Another organist - Ray Jackson - giving Hodges sympathetic backing while he solos on 2 melodies ideally suited to his style. But on "Creole Love Call" Hodges, in a generous mood gives Burrell and Jackson equal solo time - making this by far most deeply-felt exposition of a classic Ellington tune in this series.
Lastly Lonehill included a complete Hodges/Hines LP to fill-out the rest of this CD. If nothing else it explains why Hodges and an organ go together so much better than Hodges and a piano. All the more so because Hines is not interested in playing the part of junior partner. Not improved because Lonehill's transfer favours Hine's piano and the 3-man rhythm section. Whereas my Japanese CD of "Stride Right" suggests Verve's microphone layout gave Hodges a sporting chance to shine.
These minor sour-grapes cannot detract from Lonehill's huge achievement in getting every note Johnny Hodges and Wild Bill Davis recorded together on 5 CD's. How they attained such a high sound quality is not explained in their sleeve notes. Was it from Verve and Victor original sources? However they did it their CD's put to shame what the Mosaic label were able to achieve on their 2-box release of all Hodges's early Verve albums.
If Lonehill have access to Verve's archives I hope one day Johnny's 2 rare "concept albums" will appear on another CD. Especially his Gershwin LP made in Germany with the strings of the Stuttgart Light Orchestra. In this respect how can one ever thank Norman Granz enough for devoting so much time and money to furthering the potential of so many jazz greats?
One can only surmize