Claude Hopkins


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The Claude Hopkins big band did not cut any records from March 1935 to January 1937, a period when swing really caught on. All that exists of the orchestra during this period, when it was greatly overshadowed by its competition, are some radio broadcasts that were released on obscure LPs. This budget album emphasizes the group's jazz side, with seven instrumentals and three that have rhythm vocals by Ovie Alston; the band's main soloists during this time were Alston on trumpet, clarinetist Edmond Hall, altoist Hilton Jefferson and Bobby Sands on tenor. Since the recording quality is not always the greatest and this album was cheaply put together, it is not essential, but serious swing collectors may want to search for it.