Barney Bigard & Art Hodes: Hesitating Blues


Hesitating Blues


Barney Bigard (clarinet) and Art Hodes (piano)


Bucket's Got A Hole In It (Delmark 211)

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Barney Bigard (clarinet), Art Hodes (piano),

Rail Wilson (bass), Barrett Deems (drums)


Composed by W.C. Handy. Song aka “Hesitation Blues” by Billy Smythe


Recorded: Chicago, January 28 and 30, 1968


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

From the first striking, keening high note, this tune is a festival of virtuoso clarinet playing by the mature master Barney Bigard late in his illustrious career. Mixing it up with Chicagoan Art Hodes, with his superb feel for piano blues, and with top-notch rhythm support from drummer Barrett Deems and bassist Rail Wilson, they produce utterly marvelous, soulful music, refreshing this old W.C. Handy classic. Bigard and Hodes are beautifully attuned, working off each other to perfection. The catchy, marvelously engaging main melodic theme is played with excellent soulful feel and dynamics by Hodes. You will have that tune reverberating in your head long after listeningówith your body unable to resist rhythmically moving along with it. And Bigard gives us all those swoops, flutters and trills, creative lines, and oh-so-rich clarinet tones that were unmatched in jazz history. His virtuoso clarinet lines and tonal effects are present in sublime manner right to the exquisite ending.

Reviewer: Dean Alger

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