Contains 25 tracks.
Personnel: Claude Hopkins (piano); Ovie Alston (vocals, trumpet); Walter Jones (guitar); Hilton Jefferson (clarinet); Gene Johnson (alto saxophone); Bobby Sands (tenor saxophone); Albert Snaer, Sylvester Lewis (trumpet); Fred Norman, Henry Wells (trombone); Henry Turner (upright bass); Pete Jacobs (drums).
Liner Note Author: Frank Driggs.
Recording information: New York, NY (10/1935-11/1935).
Director: Claude Hopkins.
The Hep record label deserves high praise for having reissued 25 broadcast acetate recordings by the Claude Hopkins orchestra dating from the autumn of 1935. Using arrangements by Benny Carter, Fred Norman and Hopkins himself, this band sounded better at times than they did on their commercially issued records. Soloists include clarinetist Edmond Hall, saxophonists Hilton Jefferson and Bobby Sands, and trumpeters Sylvester Lewis and Washington D.C. native Ovie Alston, who possessed a pleasant singing voice. Three exceptional titles from this collection represent this band at its very finest and more than justify the purchase of the entire album: they are the "Farewell Blues," the "Washington Squabble" and "Chasing the Blues Away," a veritable masterpiece that gradually evolves into an exotic shuffle propelled by growling trumpet and Caribbean percussion. ~ arwulf arwulf