After Blue Note switched to bop in 1947, it was the end of trad jazz on the label, with the exception of a few sessions led by Sidney Bechet and George Lewis. The masterful soprano saxophonist Bechet led no less than nine dates for Blue Note, as well as appearing as a sideman on four others, all of which were included in Mosaic's now out-of-print comprehensive Bechet box set. Three of Bechet's outings for Blue Note co-featured cornetist Wild Bill Davison, and all of that music is on this single 1998 CD. Since Bechet was generally quite dominant in ensembles, he did not usually get along well with trumpeters, and since Davison could be quite fiery, it is surprising that this matchup works so well. Bechet actually enjoyed Wild Bill's playing because the cornetist played fairly simply and left plenty of space. Davison had great respect for Bechet and is slightly more restrained than usual throughout these numbers, although he does let loose with some heated blasts here and there. This excellent Dixieland collection features one quintet and two sextet sessions with Bob Diehl or Jimmy Archey on trombone, Art Hodes or Joe Sullivan on piano, Pops Foster or Walter Page on bass and Freddie Moore or Slick Jones on drums; there are lots of hot moments on the warhorse material from the two principals. A surprise success.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow