Harold 'Shorty' Baker, Clark Terry (tp), Lawrence Brown (tb), Jimmy Hamilton (cl, ts), Johnny Hodges (as), Arthur 'Babe' Clarke (ts), Harry Carney (bs), Leroy Lovett, Billy Strayhorn (p), Johnny Williams, Jimmy Woode (b), Louis Bellson, Sonny Greer (d)
Reference: FSRCD 572
Bar code: 8427328605724
Includes extensive booklet with recording details, extensive notes and rare photos.
These 1955 Johnny Hodges sessions feature two remarkable units including mostly musicians who had been long associated with Duke Ellington. Among them were two excellent trumpet players with clear ideas about Hodges: Clark Terry and Harold Shorty Baker. In Terrys laconic opinion, Johnny had always been true to himself. In the meantime, Baker once said that Nobody knows what Johnny Hodges feels inside as he walks out to the mike. He may look as though hes on his last walk to the gallows, but he appreciates the applause and he thanks the audience with a million dollars worth of melody!.
Their insights testify to the respect and regard Johnny Hodges (1907-1970) enjoyed among musicians. That his popularity with the public, in a five decade of professional activity, should remain undiminished, similarly testifies to the fact that artistic ability and integrity do not always go unnoticed and unrewarded.
"Johnny Hodges' small group dates for various Norman Granz-owned labels (Norgran, Clef, and Verve) pleased fans of Duke Ellington, due in part to the frequent presence of fellow sideman from the band. The 1955 'Creamy' session is no exception, with Clark Terry (trumpet and flugelhorn), baritone saxophonist Harry Carney, clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton (who doubles on tenor sax), and trombonist Lawrence Brown joining Hodges in the front line. The rhythm section consists of Billy Strayhorn, bassist Jimmy Woode, and drummer Sonny Greer. In addition to a long ballad medley with individual features for each player (except for Greer), the remainder of the date is devoted to originals by Hodges or Strayhorn, along with "Scufflin'," an impromptu-sounding swinger credited to the alto saxophonist's wife, Cue Hodges. While there are no real surprises anywhere on this record, it is well worth acquiring."
Ken Dryden -All Music Guide
"As Duke Ellington's altoist during 1928-51 and 1955-70, Johnny Hodges became world famous and beloved by jazz fans. His luscious tone and melodic style on ballads, blues and swing tunes was highly influential, making him the top altoist (along with Benny Carter) before the rise of Charlie Parker. Hodges led quite a few sessions of his own along the way,. During 1951-55 broke away from Ellington to lead his own combo, before returning for another 15 years.
While Mosaic previously released Hodges' solo recordings of the 1950s on two box sets, those are long out of print. Fresh Sound has come out with four reissues dating from that era. Perdido (FSR 572) has Hodges in 1955 performing with a septet shortly before he rejoined Ellington, and with a slightly later octet. The music is very much in the Ellington vein although a little looser and with more of a jam session feel. With Shorty Baker or Clark Terry on trumpet, trombonist Lawrence Brown and (on one session) baritonist Harry Carney, clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton and pianist Billy Strayhorn, it is no surprise that there are plenty of exciting moments to be heard, along with a six-song ballad medley."
Scott Yanow -Los Angeles Jazz Scene (May, 2010)