The first of three Classics CDs that contain all of pianist Claude Hopkins' big band recordings is the most essential of the trio. Although Hopkins was a masterful stride player, his orchestra never really had their own individual sound and therefore did not catch on. However, many of the selections on this set (particularly the Jimmy Mundy-arranged instrumentals) are quite memorable, with the eccentric "Mush Mouth" being a classic. Other highlights include Hopkins' theme "I Would Do Most Anything for You," "Three Little Words," "California Here I Come," and "Honeysuckle Rose." In addition to the leader, the main soloists in the band during the era were trumpeter/vocalist Ovie Alston, trombonist Fernando Arbello, up-and-coming clarinetist Edmond Hall, and underrated tenor Bobby Sands, but the most popular member of the orchestra was high-voiced singer Orlando Roberson. Highly recommended to swing and big band fans, this set of studio recordings also includes 11 numbers only previously out on a collectors' LP.