Art Hodes

The Music of Lovie Austin

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This is a slightly off-the-wall project that succeeds quite well. In the 1920s, pianist Lovie Austin's Blues Serenaders recorded a series of numbers that usually featured cornetist Tommy Ladnier, clarinetist Jimmy O'Bryant and drummer W.E. Burton. In 1988, veteran pianist Art Hodes (83 at the time) teamed up with three Europeans (cornetist Abbi Hubner, clarinetist Reimer Von Essen and drummer Trevor Richards) to perform new versions of ten of the 16 songs originally recorded by Austin, plus Hodes' "Blues for Lovie Austin." The ensemble-oriented music (mostly blues-oriented obscurities from the mid-'20s) is given very favorable treatment by the four players, all of whom clearly understand the idiom. Classic jazz fans will want this somewhat obscure effort.