- Released: November 13, 2001
- Label: Delmark
- 1.It's Only A Paper Moon
- 3.Poor Butterfly
- 5.Along The Santa Fe Trail
- 6.Lazy River
- 7.Chicago / I Left My Heart In San Francisco
- 8.I Want A Little Girl
Personnel: Earl Hines (piano); Johnnie Rae (vibraphone); Jack Crowley (guitar); Larry Richardson (bass); Kahil Mahdee (drums); Escovedo (percussion).
Recorded live in San Francisco, California on May 13, 1970. Includes liner notes by Dr. Olly Wilson.
Earl "Fatha" Hines didn't record for Delmark extensively, although he did provide a few memorable albums for the Chicago-based jazz/blues label. One of them was At the Party, which documents a May 13, 1970, concert in San Francisco. Not surprisingly, the album is excellent. Leading a sextet who includes, among others, vibist Johnny Rae (who was heavily influenced by Lionel Hampton), bassist Larry Richardson, and guitarist Jack Crowley, Hines is in fine form during a swing-oriented set that boasts inspired performances of "Indiana," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "I Want a Little Girl," and other well-known standards. Equally memorable is a 12-minute medley that unites "Chicago" with Tony Bennett's signature tune "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," which was an appropriate song to perform given where this concert took place. Hines was 66 when At the Party was recorded, and the influential pianist was continuing to play with as much stamina and vitality as ever; the Earl "Fatha" Hines of 1970 doesn't sound any less enthusiastic than the Earl "Fatha" Hines of the '20s, '30s, and '40s. His fingers and imagination were still serving him well in the early '70s, and thankfully, Hines kept busy throughout that decade. But while At the Party is excellent, it falls short of essential. Many of the albums that Hines provided in the '70s are excellent, but excellent doesn't necessarily mean essential. Nonetheless, Hines enthusiasts will find a great deal to admire about At the Party, which Delmark reissued on CD in 2001. ~ Alex Henderson