Groove Holmes and Gerald Wilson – a wonderful combination on this late 60s session – in a style that's everything great about mainstream LA jazz at the time! Wilson really has a way with the charts on the session – and although the group is large, they've got a lean, clean sound that bounces along nicely – slightly funky at times, always soulful at others – a perfect backdrop for the well-played Hammond lines that Groove brings to the set! The album's not as much of an all-out organ wailer as some of Holmes' albums for Prestige – but that's a-ok with us, because Wilson's group features some other great players too – including Dennis Budimir on guitar, Tony Ortega and Arnie Watts on saxes, and Paul Humphrey on drums!
Super Soul was a little funkier than much soul-jazz that had passed before 1967, and its horn parts sometimes slanted more toward pop and soundtrack territory. That was particularly evident on one of the strongest cuts, the opening "Why Don't You Do Right?," where the rhythm (particularly with the aid of a conga drum) goes into grooves that are at least as much soul as jazz, and the horns have a TV adventure theme-like flavor. The album's a little on the innocuous side, even for a genre (Prestige 1960s soul-jazz) that can be pretty homogeneous. It's easygoing background party music, though Holmes summons an interesting light, prickly, almost vibes-like organ sound at times, as on the solo for the cover of Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar."
This killer little Groove Holmes date was produced by the mighty Sonny Lester, and features a big band arranged and conducted by Manny Albam. Other than Holmes, the only other soloist credited here is Eddie Daniels on tenor and flute. The material here is curious upon first glance, with covers of Gerry Goffin's "Go Away Little Girl," Stevie Wonder's "You've Got It Bad," and Carole King's "It's Going to Take Some Time" situated around some hard soul-jazz numbers by the organist, including "Groove's Groove," along with Norman Gimbel's sweet ballad "How Insensitive" and slippery little soul tune "Meditation."
Talkin’ about playing bass! Richard “Groove” Holmes was a master at this particular aspect of Hammond jazz. Live date Onsaya Joy finds him locking in spontaneously with Orville J. Saunders II’s guitar solo and ‘walkin’ as if supporting Fresh-era Sly Stone on a Fender bass guitar on both the title track and Horace Silver’s Song For My Father. His command of the bass pedals is a highlight of this album. The rock beat of drummer Thomas Washington Jr. is less enamouring. With all due respect, one would wish for a more delicate and experienced approach. Sweet Georgia Brown has a ferocious tempo that outdoes Jimmy Smith’s short distance runner at Club Baby Grand. And make no bones about it, the man handles it eloquently, comping competently and soloing as if a hellhound’s on his trail.
A lost chapter of genius from vibes player Billy Wooten – and a great one too! The set's a rare outing with Hammond giant Groove Holmes – laid out nicely here in a quartet setting that offers up plenty of Billy's great vibes mixed with the organ – in a mode that's very different than anything else Wooten ever recorded, and which really takes us back to the best soul jazz years of 60s Prestige Records! The group also features great tenor from Jimmy Coe – a player we don't really know at all – and drums from Jozell Carter, who works nicely with the rhythms from Holmes' work on the Hammond. Titles include "Blue Bossa", "Bags", "Groove's Blues", "It's A Groove Thing", and "I Remember April."
This, the second of Kent's Mod Jazz compilations, documents those points during the 1960s (and sometimes the early '70s, or the late '50s) when jazz, blues, and soul music intersected, sometimes throwing in pinches of pop, soundtrack themes, and Latin beats.