The fourth and final CD reissuing all of the music from the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks might be the weakest overall but it still has plenty of bright moments and it completes the band's story. Drummer Carleton Coon and pianist Joe Sanders were two of the best jazz singers of the 1920's and their tight band, despite not having any major soloists (and usually only featuring short breaks and occasional choruses) was one of the finest orchestras of the decade. This CD starts out with 13 selections from 1929 including "Kansas City Kitty," "Gotta Great Big Date With A Little Bitta Girl," "Harlem Madness" and "The Darktown Strutters Ball." Due to problems with their label (Victor),the Nighthawks stayed out of the recording studios until 1932 when in March they recorded nine selections during two sessions including "Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now" and "On Revival Day" (which would be their final recording). Some of their music by this time sounds quite sweet but Sanders' arrangements generally keep the momentum flowing and there are many colorful moments. Also included is one of two Sanders unaccompanied piano solos (the wistful "Southology"); strange that the other one ("Intangibility") was left out. A few weeks later an abcessed tooth (that had been neglected for too long) of drummer Coon was pulled, it became infected and he died of blood poisoning at the age of 38. Despite the band's popularity, the absence of its co-leader resulted in the orchestra breaking up within a year and passing into history. The four CDs put out by The Old Masters are perfectly done (other than the absence of the one piano solo) and shows today's listeners why the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks had such a big audience in its prime.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow