Tenor saxophonist Buck Hill spent most of his prime years working as a mailman in the Washington, D.C., area and occasionally playing jazz at night. He was already a veteran when he began recording in 1978 and, fortunately, his legacy has been well documented ever since. A thick-toned tenor, Hill has a style that is boppish and looks both toward swing and hard bop simultaneously. Joined by a fine, if obscure, Washington-based rhythm section, Hill performs five of his basic originals and four standards on this date, including "Blue Hill," a lyrical "But Beautiful," a cooking "I Want to Be Happy," and a melodic rendition of Duke Ellington's "Warm Valley." This out of print CD is an excellent example of Hill's musical talents.
This edition presents, for the first time ever on CD, two of the best albums made by Pee Wee Russell in the late 50s. “Pee Wee Russell Plays” (1959), featuring the leader (who is also the composer of all the tunes) along with stars like Buck Clayton, Vic Dickenson and Bud Freeman. As a bonus, the complete album “Portrait of Pee Wee” (1958), selected as one of 100 best jazz albums of all time, and also featuring Vic Dickenson and Bud Freeman, plus the great trumpeter Ruby Braff.