This CD features Earl Hines & His Esquire All Stars in a series of radio broadcasts from the Club Hangover in San Francisco in the early weeks of 1954, although the great jazz is burdened somewhat with the ever present announcer to introduce each tune and a piano of often questionable tuning. The pianist is in top form as a soloist in spite of being handicapped with an inferior instrument. Although Hines was playing a lot of Dixieland material during this period of his career, the selections in this CD primarily emphasize swing, including his popular "Boogie Woogie on the St. Louis Blues" (with its gimmicky long sustained tremolo in the right hand) which is broken up by the insertion of his band (trombonist Dicky Wells, trumpeter Gene Redd, and tenor saxophonist Morris Lane) to relieve the monotony, his best known work "Rosetta," as well as enjoyable arrangements of classics like Count Basie's "One O'Clock Jump," Duke Ellington's "C Jam Blues," and Lester Young's "Jumpin' With Symphony Sid." The sound of this vintage material is surprisingly good, relatively free of extraneous noise from the audience and rather well balanced, so this CD is well worth acquiring.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden