|All Artists: John Coltrane|
Title: Complete Studio Sessions With Johnny Hodges
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Release Date: 6/29/2004
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Missing The Trane
Johnny Hodges | Clark Fork, ID United States | 07/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Despite the praise given Johnny Hodges in the liner notes, they give John Coltrane head billing! Poor Johnny, he still gets no respect. Coltrane's role is as a backup musician in these 1954 sessions when Hodges first formed his own band (after half a lifetime as the most significant musician in the Duke Ellington band). Other than a few bars here and there, you can't really hear him. Understandable, because Coltrane hadn't developed his distinctive and imaginative chops yet, plus he was wrestling with the smack demon. Even in the highlight track, an 18 minute medley of ballad standards where many of the band members get a full chorus to solo, Trane does not get his own solo. What this is is a JOHNNY HODGES CD, and a really good one.
The rest of the band includes Ellington alumni Lawrence Brown (trombone), Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet), the also underrated Harry Carney (baritone sax); plus Shorty Baker (trumpet), Louis Belson (drums), Cal Cobbs (piano) and John Williams (bass). The sympatico band sounds great, and Hodges gets off some of the most chilling solos of his career. The recording has a relaxed, swinging groove to it, featuring several original Hodges compositions (two of which are over 7 minutes), along with a variety of standards which are well individualized by Jeep & Co. We're not breaking any borders here (as Coltrane constantly did in his later career), but the playing is sophisticated in its restraint and perfection. The good fidelity bespeaks access to the original masters and the wisdom to not booger it up with inept "remastering". Running time is only 48 min.
If you buy this for the Coltrane, or for any interplay between Trane and the Hodges alto he (like most sax players) so admired, you're going to be mightily disappointed. Or maybe it's all a big trick to expose modern jazz fans to the sweetest alto sax sound ever? Nahhh."