Many traditional jazz revival bands generally lean to the New Orleans version of that jazz form, but Pat Hawes and his group explore traditional jazz from other citadels of the music, like Chicago. There is a large palette of colors on this album not found on releases dealing exclusively with just one style of traditional jazz. It's a credit to the performers on this album that they are at ease with and can play the different varieties of trad jazz represented on the CD. The play list features many tunes that were favorites of the likes of Cab Calloway, Freddie Keppard, Baby Dodds, and others. On Calloway's signature tune "Minnie the Moocher," the group employs the call-and-response technique used between Calloway and his band. While Hawes does fine with the calling, the band is a bit ragged with the responding. But it's fun anyway. With its interplay between Goff Dubber on clarinet and Alan Elsdon on trumpet, "It Had to Be You" recalls the version Tony Parenti and Wild Bill Davidson did on a 1944 Jazzology release. "Sweet Patootie" has Hawes' piano taking on a boogie-woogie spin. "C-Jam Blues" has all the trappings of an early Duke Ellington combo arrangement, and does it swing! "My Gal Sal" is classic jam session with the group engaging in those spontaneous diversions that make listening to this jazz mode exciting and attractive. New Orleans traditional jazz is not ignored by any means, and is visited to good effect on "The Glory of Love" and "See See Rider." "Wild Man Blues" is done in the fashion of Johnny Dodds' Black Bottom Stompers, and spotlights the trombone of Mike Pointon. While strict New Orleans traditionalists may flinch at the mixing of other trad jazz styles with "their" music, the general listener will enjoy this session of relaxed, unconstrained music in the jazz tradition. Recommended.
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan