In celebration of what would have been his hundredth birthday, saxophonist Johnny Hodges is lovingly commemorated by the Living Era label with a special two-disc Centenary Issue intended as a complementary sequel to Jeep's Blues (Living Era 5180), a 24-track compilation that covered the years 1928-1941. The Jeep Is Jumpin' should not be confused with the similarly titled 32-track Verve reissue LP from the '70s, nor with Proper's hugely satisfying 94-track box set issued in 2003. What Living Era has carefully presented here are 46 of Hodges' very best recordings as a leader. These sides were cut for the Bluebird, Mercer, Sunrise, Vogue, Clef, and Norgran labels between July 3, 1941 and January 7, 1955. Living Era does the listener a huge favor by presenting the music chronologically; the liner notes are informative, the discographical information is meticulously well researched and the sound is excellent. Drawing heavily upon the Duke Ellington orchestra even during his nearly five-year hiatus from that home base, Hodges handled swinging jazz standards and sultry ballads with immaculate ease while concocting a steady stream of originals that sometimes bore laconically humorous titles like "Who's Excited?" While others (Emmett Berry, Shorty Baker, Al Sears) get their share of the limelight, these 46 classic sides epitomize and personify the unrivaled composure, powerful poise and worldly sophistication of that master musician, John Cornelius Hodges.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2