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Johnny Hodges: Triple Play

This was made during Brad McCuen’s all-too-brief reign as jazz A&R at Victor, when intelligence and taste prevailed. The idea of recording with three different groups over a couple of days appealed to Hodges very much, although he was disappointed that Grant Green, whom he greatly admired, was out of town at the time.

Three titles, “Monkey on a Limb” (for Shuma, Hodges’ pet), “Figurine” and “Big Boy Blues” were not on the original LP, but they were included on the subsequent Bluebird reissue Bob Porter produced, which is housed complete in this CD package along with John Clement’s notes. Several fine photographs by Chuck Stewart are a praiseworthy addition, but the personnels are presented in a deplorably confused and amateurish fashion. Jimmy Hamilton played clarinet as well as tenor and arranged “Big Boy Blues;” Mercer Ellington wrote and arranged “Figurine;” Jimmy Jones played piano on the second session only although he is shown as “second piano” on the others, a pay-off for sketches he provided.

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