Unlike many of the traditional jazz revival bands focus on the New Orleans style, especially those located in Europe, Pat Hawes and his group explore traditional jazz from other jazz citadels, like Chicago. Thus there is a large tray of colors on this album not found on those that deal exclusively with just one style of trad jazz. It's a credit to the performers that they are at ease with and can play the different varieties of traditional jazz represented on the CD.
The play list feature tunes that were favorites of the likes of Cab Calloway, Freddie Keppard and Baby Dodds. On Calloway's signature tune "Minnie the Moocher", the group settles in with call and response used by Calloway and his band. But while Hawes does fine with the calling, the band is a bit ragged with the response. But it's fun anyway. "It Had to Be You" with the interplay between Goff Dubber on clarinet and Alan Elsdon on trumpet, recalls the version Tony Parenti and Wild Bill Davidson got together on for a Jazzology label1994 release. "Sweet Patootie" has Pat Hawes' piano taking on a boogie woogie spin. "C-Jam Blues" has all the trappings of an early Duke Ellington combo arrangement, and it swings! "My Gal Sal" is classic jam session with the group engaging in those spontaneous diversions that make listening to trad jazz exciting and attractive. Straight New Orleans jazz is not ignored and is presented to good effect on "The Glory of Love" and "See See Rider". "Wild Man Blues" is played in the fashion of Johnny Dodds's Black Bottom Stompers and spotlights the trombone of Mike Pointon.
While strict New Orleans traditionalists may flinch at the mixing of other traditional jazz styles with "their" music, the general listener will enjoy this session of relaxed, unconstrained music in the jazz tradition. Recommended.
Personnel: Pat Hawes - Piano/Vocals; Goff Dubber - Reeds; John Rodber - Bass; Alan Elsdon - Trumpet; Mike Pointon - Trombone; Rex Bennett - Drums