Six different sessions featuring music recorded for the tiny mid-'40s Continental label are reissued on this enjoyable CD. The music overall is small-group swing played by all-stars who for the moment were largely unaffected by bebop. Two of the groups are overlapping bands headed by drummer Cozy Cole and including such notables as trumpeter Charlie Shavers, tenors Walter Thomas, Coleman Hawkins, and Don Byas, clarinetist Hank D'Amico, and a pair of solid four-piece rhythm sections. Hawkins, Shavers, and Byas in particular take solo honors. Trumpeter/singer Hot Lips Page is featured with three different ensembles that sometimes include trombonists Vic Dickenson and J.C. Higginbotham, tenors Lucky Thompson, Don Byas, and Ben Webster, and altoist Earl Bostic. Among the selections are "The Lady in Bed," "The Lady in Debt," "Race Horse Mama," and "They Raided the Joint." The final four selections were headed by the non-musician Timme Rosenkrantz and team together Charlie Ventura on tenor, baritonist Harry Carney, both Otto Hardwick and Johnny Bothwell on altos, and vibraphonist Red Norvo in a trumpet-less octet. Since the longest of the 24 selections here is scarcely over three minutes, the solos are concise and meaningful and the musicians display their ability to say a lot in a brief period of time. This appealing set is easily recommended to small-group swing collectors.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow