Earl Hines, one of jazz's greatest pianists, was a modern stylist who broke up the usual stride piano pattern of the 1920s with unexpected accents and an uncanny ability to play successfully with time; he had the trickiest left hand in the business. After his orchestra disbanded in 1947 and he spent a few unfulfilling years as a sideman with the Louis Armstrong All Stars, Hines entered a decade of critical neglect and indifference in which his talents were pretty well forgotten; he found himself playing Dixieland in San Francisco for several years. This particular CD is a decent Dixieland set with trumpeter Eddie Smith, trombonist Jimmy Archey and clarinetist Darnell Howard. Still, Hines's abilities are somewhat wasted on tunes such as "Bill Bailey," "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" and "Clarinet Marmalade." His renaissance was still three years in the future.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow