On the first of two CDs (and originally released on three LPs), pianist Art Hodes leads a particularly strong all-star group through a variety of familiar Dixieland standards. Presented to the audience in an informative and educational way, this music is often quite exciting, not a surprise when one considers the lineup: cornetist Wild Bill Davison (in peak form), trombonist Jim Beebe, clarinetist Barney Bigard, guitarist Eddie Condon, bassist Rail Wilson and drummer Hillard Brown. This CD would be worth getting if only to hear Davison's highly expressive (and sometimes sarcastic) playing on "Just a Closer Walk with Thee." Traditional jazz fans should consider the two volumes in this series to be essential.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow