Retrieval Records: Treasures Lost and Found
All of the sides were recorded in 1933. On "Someone Stole Gabriel's Horn," Hughes decided to end the chart with a rather dissonant chord (something highly unusual for its day). Hughes' original "Pastorale" is based on the tones of the pentatonic scale. Some jazz enthusiasts say that Hughes was so enamored with Duke Ellington that his "Arabesque" sounds more like Duke Ellington than Ellington himself. This particular session ends with everyone jamming out on "Sweet SueJust You" in which we actually get to hear Hughes play bass. But this being the first time he played since arriving in the United States, he had to put plaster around his fingers to avoid them being cut to shreds. The other highlight of "Sweet Sue" is Wayman Carver
's jazz flute solo. This was far, far away from normalcy in 1933 (you might say Ron Burgundy owes him a debt of gratitude). The recording of "Firebird" could possibly be the only recording of Benny Carter on the soprano saxophone. On "Love, You're Not the One For Me" and "Synthetic Love" the listener can actually hear Benny Carter on vocals. But what is really enticing here are the tracks "Lonesome Nights," "Symphony in Buffs" and "Blue Lou," because they display some of Benny Carter's early arranging skills for a saxophone section.
After the conclusion of these sessions, Spike Hughes retired from recording in the jazz field. Hughes claimed that he had reached his creative and artistic peak. Hughes quietly went back to being a classical music critic, leaving his history and output within the recorded grooves of carved wax for others to speculate upon and enjoy.
Standout tracks: Someone Stole Gabriel's Horn; Pastorale; Arabesque; Sweet SueJust You; Firebird; Swing It; Synthetic Love; Devil's Holiday; Blue Lou.
As a closing note, it's safe to say that if you're interested in accurate, great sounding classic jazz music, Retrieval Records has put a lot of hard work into their catalog, and it has paid off. The sound quality is fantastic and pure joy to listen to.