Most of this two disc set is devoted to Hines' last night of the five night stand, when he led the group through a set list provided by O'Neal. The list had been drawn up early in the week, including songs that the producer hoped to get on tape over the course of the engagement, but Hines' put them off until the end, and then, largely unrehearsed, turned in a bravura performance of material covering a broad range of styles, giving each his inimitable personal stamp. Disc Two is rounded out with a seven song performance from one of the Friday night sets, displaying a typical Earl Hines lounge set of the period.
The material on An Evening With Earl Hines ranges from bop to Broadway, but no matter what he plays, Hines demonstrates not only terrific artistry, but a flair for pure entertainment that allowed him to sustain a career in jazz for over a half a century. The presence of Tiny Grimes, a jazz legend in his own right who was largely undocumented during this period of his career, is a definite bonus. While the Hines catalog is too extensive to call this one essential, it is unique in its way and thoroughly satisfying throughout.