In these days, when jazz has turned to consolidation rather than innovation, records by old masters like Charlie Shavers and Johnny Hodges achieve gold standard almost by definition. Sleeve note accolades can often do little more than acknowledge and applaud the fact, for Shavers and Hodges were genii, of course: unflawed musicians, total original minds, two of the great burnished talents that were ablaze in those fiery jazz years. All that we’ve long known.
The two masters on this record led separate musical lives publicly. Like most jazz history this is probably (as Henry Ford once remarked) bunk – who can document the meetings on a neon-lit Swing Street, or lonely midnight roads? – But on this record they occupy separate sides and exclusive treatment in this annotation.