This is our all-time best seller. Selected ‘Jazz Album of the Week’ in the New York Times and on numerous ‘Best Recordings of the Year’ lists upon its original release, these live recordings from Carnegie Hall and Syracuse, New York, are now remastered and repackaged and include additional, previously unreleased Dolphy performances of Gunther Schuller’s Third Stream masterpiece Variants on a Theme by Monk. An incredible sampling of Dolphy’s artistry from ’62 to ’63, in action with his own quartet, in contemporary chamber music settings created for him by Schuller and in the heat of an all-star jam session on “Donna Lee”… Dolphy was never more brilliant.
Between 1976 and 1979, Jimmy McGriff was often featured in the disco-style productions of Groove Merchant house arranger Brad Baker. The records usually surrounded the great organist with a huge army of studio musicians, big horn sections, string parts and often heard McGriff playing keyboards other than organ. THE MEAN MACHINE, from 1976, was the first of these productions and McGriff doesn't even play organ here.
One of the funkiest albums ever from Junior Parker – a great little set that shows he had a lot more to offer than just the average bluesman! The album's got a nice little soul sound in the backings – tight rhythms from Horace Ott, who nicely avoids a lot of the cliches that the blues business was hitting at the time – in order to keep Junior in hip territory that's filled with breaking drums and heavy basslines! There's a few key crossover tracks here, plus some surprisingly sweeter numbers – and the album's a gem through and through – well-appreciated by new generations over the years, thanks to its diversity of tracks! Titles include a great break version of "Taxman" – plus two more Beatles numbers, "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "Lady Madonna" – and the tracks "Outside Man", "Darling Depend On Me", "You Know I Love You", "River's Invitation", and "Just To Hold My Hand".
Human Feel's sophomore album, Scatter, is filled with tremendous and passionately performed avant jazz, but its importance comes mainly from being the first widely available CD (thanks to Gunther Schuller's GM Recordings label) featuring then-newcomers Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar), Chris Speed (tenor sax), Andrew D'Angelo (alto sax), and Jim Black (drums). The presence of bassist Joe Fitzgerald is also noteworthy for a couple of reasons: he's a highly skilled and expressive player here (as he would also prove years later in Ballin' the Jack, and he left Human Feel after this CD and was not replaced.
Soul-jazz and Hammond B3 pioneer Jimmy McGriff made the Groove Merchant record label his home base for the better part of the 1970s, releasing the often overlooked Fly Dude in 1972. This is McGriff at his most varied. Working with Ronald Arnold on tenor saxophone, George Freeman and John Thomas on guitars, and Marion Booker Jr. on drums, McGriff tackles a Jimmy Smith tune ("Jumping the Blues"), a Memphis Slim classic ("Everyday I Have the Blues"), and a bop touchstone by sax great Charlie Parker ("Yardbird Suite").
After a series of sugary soul-jazz dates for Blue Note, Reuben Wilson resurfaced on Groove Merchant with The Sweet Life. The title notwithstanding, the session is his darkest and hardest-edged to date, complete with a physicality missing from previous efforts.
After a series of sugary soul-jazz dates for Blue Note, Reuben Wilson resurfaced on Groove Merchant with The Sweet Life. The title notwithstanding, the session is his darkest and hardest-edged to date, complete with a physicality missing from previous efforts. Credit tenor saxophonist Ramon Morris, trumpeter Bill Hardman, guitarist Lloyd Davis, bassist Mickey Bass, and drummer Thomas Derrick, whose skin-tight grooves sand away the polished contours of Wilson's organ solos to reveal their diamond-sharp corners. The material, while predictable (i.e., standbys like "Inner City Blues" and "Never Can Say Goodbye"), is nevertheless well suited to the set's righteous funk sound.