This very interesting Delmark CD has formerly rare selections from three different groups in the mid-'40s. Pianist Earl Hines heads a septet that also features trumpeter Ray Nance, altoist Johnny Hodges, Flip Phillips on tenor and vocalist Betty Roche. Drummer Sonny Greer leads a group of Ellingtonians that include cornetist Rex Stewart, clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton, trombonist Lawrence Brown and baritonist Harry Carney, and high-note trumpet wiz Cat Anderson is at the helm of a competent (if somewhat anonymous) big band. All of this music is essentially swing with bop overtones and the 15 performances (originally on the Apollo label) are quite enjoyable.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow