A fine set that finds Hawkins in his mid-'40s prime. Having already spent five years in Europe and returning home to triumph with his classic reading of "Body and Soul," Hawkins spent a good portion of the '40s playing with the younger, up-and-coming players of the burgeoning bebop era. This very enjoyable Classics disc brings together highlights from both his 52nd Street collaborations and ongoing recordings with contemporaries he played with during the swing years. On the more modern end, Hawkins heads up a quartet featuring a young Thelonious Monk at the piano. Hawkins then switches things around and is heard teaming up with pianist Teddy Wilson and Basie alum and trumpeter Buck Clayton for such standouts as "Under a Blanket of Blue" and "I'm Yours." And like many of his contemporaries, Hawkins did a little R&B time, in particular on the two cuts here by Walter Thomas and His Jump Cats. The tenor giant returns to jazz form, though, on four stellar sides with trumpeter Charlie Shavers and His All-American Five. A solid yet non-essential Hawkins collection.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook