Johnny Hodges (as), Wild Bill Davis (org), Les Spann, Mundell Lowe (g), Sam Jones (b), Osie Johnson, Louis Hayes (d)
This special one-off project contains 10 complete original albums, spread over 5 CDs (three single CDs and one double CD set): "Blue Hodge" (1961), "Mess Of Blues" (1963), "Blue Rabbit" (1964), "Joe's Blues" (1965), "Wings And Things" (1965), "Con-Soul & Sax" (1965), "Blue Pyramid" (1965), "In Atlantic City" (1966). Two of these ten albums are included as a bonus: two complete 1966 Johnny Hodges' albums (without Wild Bill Davis): "Blue Notes" & "Stride Right" (the latter with Earl Hines) and also four tracks featuring Johnny Hodges and Wild Bill Davis from the rare 1963 big band album "Sandy's Gone".
Celebrated jazzmen with deep blues roots, Johnny Hodges (1906-1970) and Wild Bill Davis (1918-1995) formed a prolific musical team with exquisite chemistry that was apparent from their first recording together (the 1961 album Blue Hodge) and would continue for nearly a decade. Hodges and Davis recorded a total of eight albums as co-leaders. The majority of these recordings, however, remained lost in obscurity after their original release and, with a few exceptions, have never been released on CD until now. All of these LPs are presented in their entirety on this project, which also includes numerous bonus tracks!
The complete small group recordings of a splendid blues team. Celebrated jazz musicians with deep blues roots, Johnny Hodges (1906-1970) and Wild Bill Davis (1918-1995) formed a prolific musical team with exquisite chemistry that was apparent from their first recording together (the 1961 album Blue Hodge) and would continue for nearly a decade.
Apart from making various albums as co-leaders with small groups, they were both members of Duke Ellington's orchestra (Hodges was, of course, an Ellington veteran) in the late Sixties, with whom they toured Europe in 1969. Will Bill was even present of the April 27, 1970 New York session (issued on the Ellington album New Orleans Suite), which turned out to be Johnny's last session ever: he died of a heart attack on May 11, 1970, while at his dentist's office.
Hodges and Davis recorded a total of eight albums as co-leaders. A few numbers from some of these sessions (mostly ballads where a piano was better suited than the organ) featured pianist Hank Jones replacing Will Bill Davis. Their albums were met with great success and constitute a solid body of recordings, which combined standard songs and Ellington-related tunes with highly-spirited blues, mostly composed by Hodges and Davis.
The majority of these recordings, however, remained lost in obscurity after their original release and, with a few exceptions, have never been released on CD until now.
Chronologically, their collective albums are as follows:
1/ Blue Hodge (1961)
2/ Mess Of Blues (1963)
3/ Blue Rabbit (1964)
4/ Joe's Blues (1965)
5/ Wings And Things (1965)
6/ Con-Soul & Sax (1965)
7/ Blue Pyramid (1965)
8/ In Atlantic City (1966)
All of these LPs are presented in their entirety in this project, which also includes numerous bonus tracks! Although this four-volume set includes all of their collective albums, the producers decided not to issue them in chronological order. Instead, the original LPs were grouped according to diverse musical criteria:
Vol. 1, the only 2-CD set of the series, comprises the only two albums in which Will Bill Davis was the primary session leader, and in which his name preceded that of Hodges in the original cover art, plus Blue Pyramid.
Vol. 2, includes the two albums in which guitarist Grant Green plays with the two masters.
Vol. 3, includes the recording in which guitarist Kenny Burrell played with Hodges and Davis, plus three tracks from the Blue Rabbit LP.
Vol. 4, includes the recordings in which Les Spann, Mundell Lowe played with Hodges and Davis, plus four tracks from the Blue Notes LP.
THE BONUS TRACKS: Hodges and Davis also participated on a ninth project, a Claus Ogerman big band LP titled Sandy's Gone fronted by Hodges. This project includes the four tracks, which also feature Will Bill Davis, as a bonus at the end of Vol 1. The only other known recordings by Hodges and Davis together were as members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
ADDITIONAL CONTENT: To fill up the discs in the project, the producers have also included two complete Johnny Hodges albums (without Wild Bill Davis) from the same period: Blue Notes (1966) and Stride Right (1966).
01. And Then Some
02. I Wonder Why
03. Azure Te
04. Blue Hodge
05. Hodge Podge
06. It Shouldn't Happen To A Dream
07. Why Are You Blue?
09. Stand By Blues
10. There Is No Greater Love
11. Blues O'Mighty
12. Fiddler's Fancy
13. Things Ain't What They Used To Be
15. Satin Doll
16. Mud Pie
17. Rent City*
18. Sometimes I'm Happy*
19. The Midnight Sun Will Never Set*
20. Sneakin' Up On You*
Total time: 79:28 min.
* Bonus Tracks: Wild Bill Davis Out
PARTNERSHIP: the complete LP "Blue Hodge" (their first collaboration) and the remaining tracks from "Blue Rabbit" (without Kenny Burrell). As bonus tracks at the end of this volume are the four remaining tracks from Hodges' LP "Blue Notes".
Personnel: JOHNNY HODGES (alto sax), WILD BILL DAVIS (organ) on all tracks, with:
#1-10: "BLUE HODGE": Les Spann (g & fl ), Sam Jones (b), Louis Hayes (d). Recorded in New Jersey, Aug 23 & 24, 1961.
#11-16: From "BLUE RABBIT": Mundell Lowe (g), Richard Davis (b), Osie Johnson (d). Recorded in New York, April 28 & 30, 1964.
#17-20: From "BLUE NOTES": Wild Bill Davis out.
Recorded in New York, October 24, 1966.