Jimmy McGriff – Electric Funk (1969)

If you’re looking for the definitive soundtrack to match the groovy Blaxploitation movie in your head, this little gem is waiting for you fully realised. So consistent is the funky-ass mood on this disc that it is almost a concept album, but in the best way. The riffs are inspired and dirty, laid down by a rhythm section so in-the-pocket it is nothing but pocket. The uncredited bass and drums team are identified elsewhere as session giants Chuck Rainey and Bernard Purdie, and that seems pretty spot-on to me. Their playing is so assured it can be nobody else. McGriff’s percussive and textured soloing is wonderfully cushioned by the integrated horn-charts and wiry, creative guitar arrangements. The whole thing comes together to evoke the era so successfully it’s as if you have stepped out of a time-machine on to the city streets of urban America, 1970. But time-locked in this case does not mean dated because the recording is crisp and the tunes are great, packed with so many musical events that it repays repeated listening.




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