Recorded January 14, 1966 at Rudy Van Gelders
Johnny Hodges and Earl "Fatha" Hines stride right through the lengthening history of jazz like giants. Very early in their brilliant careers, they were established as influential stylests. Alto saxophonists everywhere tried to sound like Hodges and piano players like Hines, but these two were naturally gifted intuitives whose forms of expression involved skills and meanings that could only approximated in imitaion. In the course of time, most of the imitators moved on to other models, but the originals continued to be themselves - very much themselves.
There was not much need for talk when they came together in the studio. They knew each other's capabilities and understood one another. "Johnny and I have been friends a long time," Hines explained simply. The groups's instrumentation necessitated no complicated routines, and there would normally be no second take unless someone goofed. An almost unconcious emphasis on spontaneity was allowed to develop as the session progressed, as Hodges surprised Hines on Hines territory, and vice versa.
-Stanley Dance (All Music Guide)
The 1966 meeting of alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges and pianist Earl Hines in the studio should be considered a cause for celebration for swing fans. Accompanied by a rhythm section including guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Joe Marshall, the two giants make magic together as they explore originals by each of the leaders, as well as gems from the Ellington songbook. Hines' "Caution Blues" (which is better known as "Blues in Thirds") serves as a mellow introduction. Hines shows off his still potent stride piano chops in his delightful "Stride Right," which causes everyone but Marshall to duck out except for the theme statements. But the two giants especially stimulate one another in the swinging take of Hines' well-known "Rosetta." Hodges moves to the forefront with the snappy rendition of "Perdido," which also has fine solos by Davis and Burrell. The alto saxophonist especially seems to enjoy the brisk pace of "I'm Beginning to See the Light." Hines incorporates Ellington's affinity for train-like licks with the improvised introduction to the swinging "'C' Jam Blues," which Hodges suggested that he repeat after he initially played it during their final chorus of "Perdido" earlier in the session.