This CD from the French Vogue label features two unrelated groups, six titles from tenor-saxophonist Coleman Hawkins that were formerly on a Prestige LP and a lengthy pair of sessions by altoist Johnny Hodges that were last available in the U.S. on Inner City in the 1970s. Hawkins dominates his sextet date (altoist Hubert Fol and drummer Kenny Clarke are most prominent among the sidemen) and is in superior form on two blues, two ballads and two romps. Hodges allocates much more solo space to his fellow players during his 16 numbers, a wise decision considering that the musicians include Don Byas on tenor, trumpeter Harold Baker, trombonist Quentin Jackson and clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton; all four soloists had their own individual voices. The mixture of bop-tinged jump tunes, blues and ballads is a predecessor to the type of music featured by Hodges's own group a few years later when he temporarily left Duke Ellington's Orchestra to go out on his own. There are lots of highlights to be heard on this highly recommended CD.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow