Let's first talk about the mastering - one can compare this brilliant job by John R. T. Davies to that done by any number of other excellent engineers (Lionel Risler, for example, on the Masters of Jazz Benny Carter set). And what is amazing is the amount of grime that Davies has been able to remove. Some pieces almost sound like alternate takes - the sonic atmosphere is so different from what I've become accustomed to. The music is ALIVE in a way previously only accessible to those who have a collection of mint - condition 78s (and the proper player, naturally). Hughes' work can now be seen in its proper light. He decided to become a Jazz composer, when there were few of those. Somehow, he believed that his particular understanding of Ellington justified his coming to New York from London and recording with some of the greatest Black musicians of that time without seeming like some ridiculous parvenu. And he was right. These pieces have an incredible sophistication for the time - especially in terms of the use of dynamics. And the musicians (Dicky Wells, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter, Henry Red Allen, etc.) rise to the occasion. They seem to have really appreciated the challenges presented by this music. Occasionally the seams show - Swing and swinging are not things that you LEARN, exactly. And Hughes' idiom is not totally idiomatic. There is stiffness, there is overwriting. But there is also (Nocturne, Pastoral, Music at Midnight, Sweet Sorrow Blues) some of the most beautiful Jazz writing of the time. Maybe this was MEANT to be a one-shot by a talented amateur with a limited amount to say. But, hey, he said it - and 75 years later, we're still listening.