Besides Davison, the “giants” at these 1968 sessions were Claude Hopkins, Benny Morton, Herb Hall, Arvell Shaw and Bussy Drootin on piano, trombone, clarinet, bass and drums respectively. Hopkins was the sextet’s musical director and his considerable experience as a bandleader clearly accounted for intelligent routines and programming whereby each musician was fairly featured. Until he was extensively recorded as a soloist in 1969-74, the jazz audience was largely unaware of Hopkins’ pianistic talent because he had seldom featured himself enough. His solos here are brief but commendable, an effective role as “band pianist” probably being more important in his judgement.
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.