A veteran of territory bands from the Southwest and Midwest, Hot Lips Page struck out on his own in the latter half of the '30s to lead a big band. His experience with Bennie Moten and Count Basie's groups may not have translated into similarly stellar material and arrangements, but the rough-hewn yet fluid swing those outfits adhered to certainly found its way into his repertoire. This Classics disc finds Page during those early days from 1938-1940, and includes cuts both by his group and smaller combos featuring Kansas alto legend Buster Smith, pianist Pete Johnson, and tenor saxophonist Don Byas. There's plenty of Page's masterful blues and jazz singing ("Old Man Ben"), along with a fine array of his heated trumpet solos. A fine selection from one of the unwitting godfathers of jump blues and early R&B.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook