Duke Ellington makes a rare Verve appearance on this classic album – and works strongly in the mode of earlier sides recorded for the label by Johnny Hodges
! There's a relaxed, small group feel going on here – one that's a bit different than some of the tighter Ellington work on Columbia during the 50s, and which almost paves the way for some of the more intimate piano sides that Duke would record during the 60s. In a way, Hodges
is almost at the lead – given how comfortable he is here in a Verve setting – and other players include Harry Edison on trumpet, Les Spann on guitar, Sam Jones on bass, and Jo Jones on drums. The real charm, as always, is Hodges
' solos, lean, mean, raspy, and soulful – and titles include "Weary Blues", "Royal Garden Blues", "Loveless Love", "St Louis Blues", and "Wabash Blues".
(Verve Inc pressing, with trumpeter logo and deep groove. Cover has a small split on the top seam, with a couple of light stains on the back.)