Hines began his career as a bandleader in 1928, the year in which he also started a lengthy residency at Chicago's Grand Terrace Club. During the Grand Terrace days, he did have his share of musical ups and downs, but this collection of 1932-1934 sides finds him in the first fertile patch of a long and distinguished career as a bandleader. Besides some fine piano work by the master himself, the music benefits greatly from the work of such topnotch arrangers as Jimmy Mundy, Walter Fuller, and Quinn Wilson. Mundy hits his spots with original versions of classics like "Cavernism," "Bubbling Over," and "Madhouse," while Wilson avails himself nicely with charts for "Japanese Sandman" and "Blue." There's also plenty of fine solo work from trombonist Trummy Young, clarinetist Omer Simeon, and tenor saxophonist Budd Johnson, among many others. The disc is spotty in parts but full of enough solid material to qualify as an essential collection.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook