A couple of rare jam sessions from 1951 that were organized and recorded by writer Rudi Blesh in his apartment are reissued on this Jazzology CD. The first four numbers, all Dixieland standards, are played by a septet featuring trumpeter Dick Smith, clarinetist Tom Sharpsteen, the young trombonist Conrad Janis, pianist Ralph Sutton, banjoist Danny Barker (who is quite prominent in the ensembles), bassist Pops Foster, and drummer Freddy Moore; in addition, Bob Wilber was inspired to sit in on soprano during a couple of songs. In general, the rhythm section outshines the frontline but these renditions of tunes such as "Panama" and "That's a Plenty" have plenty of spirit. Eubie Blake, then just a mere 68, is heard leading a trio on "Maple Leaf Rag" and a previously unreleased version of "Maryland, My Maryland." These were his only recordings during the 1934-1957 period. The release concludes with a slightly more modern jam session that is more in the vein of Kansas City swing. Trumpeter Hot Lips Page (who sings on "Moaning Dan") heads a group also featuring tenor saxophonist Paul Quinichette, trombonist Tyree Glenn, and a rhythm section that includes a prominent Sonny Greer on drums. Although the release overall is not quite essential, the music should easily please Dixieland and swing fans.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow