Johnny Hodges

Hodge Podge [Epic]

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This is a good set that should have been a great one. Rather than reissue all 43 of altoist Johnny Hodges's small-group dates for Vocalion and Okeh, this CD (which should have been two) only contains 16. The music is often classic small-group swing ("Jeep's Blues," "Hodge Podge" and "Rent Party Blues" are among the highpoints) and there are several superb examples of Hodges playing soprano (showing off the influence of Sidney Bechet) but many valuable performances are missing. The problem is that the set is a straight reissue (although with some new liner notes) of an Epic LP rather than being an improvement. This important material deserves to be repackaged in a more complete fashion.

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