Album: Scott Hamilton / Alan Barnes, Hi-Ya (Woodville)

Mainstream jazz gets a bad rep as undemanding pipe-and-slippers music but it has become a valuable medium for players who really know what to do with a good melody.

The theme here is quintet versions of tunes associated with Ellington's alto-man Johnny Hodges, with the super-smooth US tenorist Hamilton partnered by the superbly pliant Barnes on alto and baritone, plus Dave Newton on piano. My favourite number is the rarely recorded "Candy", whose phrases H&B make into a tender, weeping lament.