The pianist-composer Claude Hopkins (1903-1984) had made but one album under his own name during the previous decade when, in 1960, he recorded the first of three superior LPs for Swingville, Prestige's mainstream subsidiary. The leader of a successful big band in the 1930s, whose best known number, "I Would Do Anything for You," which he wrote, is reprised here, Hopkins assembled three topflight small groups of Swing Era veterans for his Swingville dates. Let's Jam and Swingtime, from 1961 and '63, respectively, were his second and third efforts for Swingville. With a collective personnel that includes big-toned Texas tenor men Buddy Tate (who doubles clarinet) and Budd Johnson, the versatile and vastly underrated trumpeter Joe Thomas, and the singular-sounding Vic Dickenson on trombone, Hopkins leads his men through a warm and engaging set of great standards from the Twenties and Thirties and bouncing or bluesy originals.
with Bobby Johnson, Budd Johnson, Vic Dickenson, Wendell Marshall, Ferdinand Everett, Buddy Tate, Joe Thomas, J.C. Heard