Johnny Hodges

A Smooth One

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This attractive double LP from 1979 includes two complete sessions by altoist Johnny Hodges that were previously unissued at the time. Most unusual is that Hodges contributed 15 of the 19 compositions; the others are "My Melancholy Baby," "Lotus Blossom," and two by clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton. Despite the unfamiliar material, the music is very much in the Duke Ellington style, with an emphasis on blues, ballads, and riff tunes. In addition to Hodges, the other main soloists are trumpeter Harold "Shorty" Baker, tenor saxophonist Ben Webster (on the first date), and trumpeter/violinist Ray Nance (on the second).

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