Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Vol. 4-Feat Les Spann & Mundell Lowe-Blue Hodge
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Final installment in this four volume series from the celebrated jazzmen with deep Blues roots, a prolific musical team with exquisite chemistry. Volume Four includes the rest of the material from the celebrated Johnny Hod... more »
Final installment in this four volume series from the celebrated jazzmen with deep Blues roots, a prolific musical team with exquisite chemistry. Volume Four includes the rest of the material from the celebrated Johnny Hodges/Wild Bill Davis partnership: the complete LP Blue Hodge (their first collaboration), and the remaining tracks from Blue Rabbit (without Kenny Burrell). As fillers at the end of this volume are the four remaining tracks from the Hodges' LP Blue Notes. Lonehill.
At long last...
cdy4ddy | SAN FRANCISCO, CA United States | 12/01/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"My dad had "Blue Hodge" when I was a kid, and I grew up listening to it; it was my introduction to Hodges and led me along the path to Ellington. I've searched for it ever since the advent of CD's and am thrilled to finally hear this music again. Hodges is at his sublime and dreamy best on "I Wonder Why" and "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dream"; while "Blue Hodge" and "Stand By Blues" provide a taste of Hodges' bluesier side.So why only three stars? First of all, the remastering, or lack thereof: It doesn't sound lively, as do the other reissued Verve sessions from this period that I own. Perhaps the source material was flawed for some reason. The second reason for the so-so rating is the bonus tracks. They are from 1964 and 1966, and definitely sound better than the 1961 date, but the '66 album, "Blue Notes", was one of those dreadful concept sessions. It featured a big band, and presents Hodges in what is refereed to in the liner notes as an "...updated blues context". Well, "Rent City", the first track from this session to appear on the disc, nearly overwhelms the mighty Rabbit with a braying horn section, and tosses in a superfluous harmonica for good measure. Two tracks later, we get a very 60's bossa nova/Muzak take on "The Midnight Sun Will Never Set". I suppose it's easy enough to stop the disc after track 16, but it makes one wonder what other inappropriate settings Hodges might have been subjected to had he lived longer? Wah-wah guitars a la' Howlin' Wolf?"
JOHNNY HODGES - AT HIS BEST
W. BUTLER | NEVADA USA | 03/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A big Thank You to Lone Hill Jazz for giving Johnny Hodges enthusiasts so many more of his later (best recorded) music on CD. How lucky for all those who consider Hodges the greatest saxophonist of all time that
Norman Granz rescued him from the Ellingon band during its moribund Capitol period and enabled him to record 18 solo albums - culminating with "Back to Back" in 1959.
Then in August 1961, with "Blue Hodge" his partnership with Wild Bill Davis gave his Verve recording career a new lease on life. With Davis, plus various guitarists he'd found the perfect setting to enhance the pleasure of being seduced by his evermore sensuous alto sax sound.
For me the most impressive track on this CD is "Azure Te". A langurous Wild Bill composition - almost written for Johnny Hodges. Lone Hill in their sleeve note reattribute this tune to Ellington.
Duplicating the same error made on "The Duke Ellington 70th Birthday Concert" LP Nov.1969. This concert being a perfect example of how Wild Bill's organ could lift the entire Ellington band to drive a normally staid and silent English audience into a virtual frenzy with his backing to "Satin Doll". A very similar arrangement being included on this CD from "Blue Rabbit". After which Duke clearly announces Davis is the composer of "Azure Te. Yet the sleeve note writer Derek Jewell (and record label) list it as an Ellington favorite "Azure".
By a strange coincidence there is an error in the "Blue Notes" sleeve notes - especially coming from the usually impeccably correct Stanley Dance (repeated on the record label). The penultimate tune on this CD is not "The Midnight Sun Will Never Set" by Quincy Jones but "Midnight Sun" by Lionel Hampton - with very famous lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Listening to Hodges enjoy every nuance of this complex melody it's impossible not to also hear "lips like a red and ruby chalice ... clouds like an alabaster palace ... each star its own aurora borealis".
The 4 tracks from "Blue Notes" are the great bonus on this CD. The original LP was a very disjointed affair recorded with different personel on 3 seperate sessions, placed on the 2 sides with no thematic logic. But with 2 slow ballads book-ended by Hodges duelling with a raucous harmonica as if they were in a Southern church these unusual tracks prove Johnny only grew more versatile and more confident as he grew older.
My only minor grouse about the sound quality of the "Blue Hodge" LP is this is the only one of the 5 CD's where the Lone Hill engineers gave the bass undue prominence. But to not clean record surfaces and get up after 20 minutes to change sides more than makes up for this quibble.