Altoist Johnny Hodges and organist Wild Bill Davis made quite a few records together during the 1960s, although each of their efforts had slightly different personnel. In the case of this long out-of-print Verve LP, they are assisted by trombonist Lawrence Brown, guitarist Grant Green, bassist Richard Davis, drummer Ben Dixon and, on three numbers, pianist Hank Jones. With the exception of "Take the 'A' Train" and the two ballads "The Nearness of You" and "Peg O' My Heart," the material (including three Hodges originals and Duke Ellington's "Imbo") is quite obscure. The group always swings, and it is interesting to hear Hodges in this setting; pity that this LP's music has not yet been reissued on CD.
Hugely acclaimed for his remarkable grasp of melody, harmony and interpretation, Bill Evans has earned his reputation as one of the most influential pianists and composers in jazz history. Classically trained from an early age, Evans initially made a name for himself working with other famous figures of the jazz genre, including George Russell, Cannonball Adderley, Chet Baker and Miles Davis, and his playing was a key feature on the latter s legendary Kind Of Blue (Columbia, 1959). By the early 1960s, Bill Evans began focussing on leading his own groups, primarily trios. Over the rest of his career, he put out a staggering body of work, including the classic albums Sunday At The Village Vanguard and Waltz For Debby (both Riverside, 1961). He received 31 Grammy nominations during his lifetime, taking away nine awards in total, and earned himself a place in the Down Beat Jazz Hall Of Fame.
While Bill Frisell has released plenty of albums under his own name, this is his first true solo album – the first on which he plays all of the instruments himself. These include electric and acoustic guitar, six-string banjo, and bass, as well as the occasional looped sample. To call the music he creates on this album "introspective" would be something of an understatement. This won't come as a complete surprise to his fans – there has always been a gentle and meditative quality to his music, and even when he's gotten wild with his trio or with downtown pals like John Zorn or Vernon Reid, those moments of abrasive abandon have always seemed like detours from his more natural, but no less inventive and interesting, sweetness and good humor.