This CD reissue combines two full LPs originally recorded for the Chaz Jazz label, with pianist Ralph Sutton and clarinetist Kenny Davern joined by Gus Johnson on drums. Traditional jazz fans will delight in Sutton's powerful brand of stride piano (the bass is never missed), yet he is also a very effective accompanist who can play a soft ballad with the best of them. Davern's always lyrical clarinet explores a wider range than most trad jazz players. Things get underway at a fast clip with "That's A-Plenty," followed by a dreamy take of James P. Johsnon's "Old Fashioned Love." Each man has an individual vocal feature as well: Davern's approach to "Take Me to the Land of Jazz" is almost conversational, while Sutton adds an enthusiastic humorous vocal á la Fats Waller to his upbeat solo feature of "'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do," and Johnson's voice is surprisingly similar to Doc Cheatham's in a warm rendition of "Sweet Lorraine." Marty Grosz's hilarious liner notes have been retained, and an amusing new cartoon cover has been added by George Booth, making this CD a desirable purchase even if you already own the two long unavailable LPs that first showcased this music.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden