Johnny Hodges: Everybody Knows
Johnny Hodges (alto sax)
Everybody Knows (Impulse GRD-116)
Jimmy Jones (piano), Ernie Shepard (bass), Grady Tate (drums).
Composed by Johnny Hodges.
Recorded: New York, February 6, 1964
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
The main theme of this tune is one of those catchy ones that keep doing instant replays in your head; it is played with verve and style by Johnny Hodges and his virtuoso pals from the Ellington band. This long track (almost 7½ minutes) includes superb trumpet work by Ray Nance and (later) by Cat Anderson with a mute, tenor sax playing by Paul Gonsalves, and trombone playing by Lawrence Brown. Hodges leads the festivities with his exquisite lyrical, sensuous alto sax playing, employing once again what is probably the richest tone of any alto player in jazz history.
The basic melodic theme and harmonic structure of the song lend themselves well to interesting variation and embellishment, and with these jazz masters at work, we have the best of creative music-making. The ensemble playing is done with perfect unity; all those years of playing together in Ellington's band paid off handsomely here, including the excellent use of dynamics. The tune keeps building its intensity and momentum, the voices of the band fill out the soundscape ever more richly, and it concludes with a rousing, inspiring ending. This jazz mini-symphony with soul is a real delight.
Reviewer: Dean Alger