Bennie Moten led one of the finest of the territory bands of the 1920s. Trumpeter Ed Lewis, trombonist Thurmon Hayes, the young baritonist Jack Washington and pianist Moten himself were excellent soloists (even if Woody Walder's spots on clarinet and tenor were erratic), the head arrangements were generally quite colorful, and the band had a spirit of its own. This CD from the early '90s reissues 22 of the 39 master takes recorded by Moten's orchestra prior to the arrival of Count Basie, managing to include all of the essential sides such as "Sugar," an inventive version of "Twelfth Street Rag," the delightful "Get Low-Down Blues" and the orchestra's big hit, "South." A solid introduction to the music of Bennie Moten.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow