James P. Johnson was one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, and in the 1920s was considered the "king of the stride piano." This Decca reissue CD contains a great deal of valuable music. Johnson is first heard on four classic piano solos from 1930 ("You've Got to Be Modernistic" and "Jingles" are particularly memorable) and then on eight Fats Waller-associated tunes in duets with drummer Eddie Dougherty from 1944; the latter performances differ from the eight identical Waller songs that Johnson had recorded earlier in the same year as solos. Since Waller (who had passed away in 1943) was his close friend and former student, there is a lot of emotion in the tributes, but also much joy. This highly recommended CD concludes with Johnson romping on eight of his own timeless compositions, including "Carolina Shout," "Old Fashioned Love," and "If I Could Be With You."
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow