The Greyboy Allstars – West Coast Boogaloo (1995)

Plenty of funky jam-bands exist with the necessary skills to establish a deep groove and fill a dance floor, but many lack the virtuosity required to flood a tune with adventurous, confident solos that skim atop tricky but harmonically sophisticated arrangements. A mind can quickly wander when confronted with weak guitar noodling, metronomic drumming and … Continue reading The Greyboy Allstars – West Coast Boogaloo (1995)

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Rusty Bryant – Fire Eater (1971)

A gold-plated classic from the soul-jazz vaults, tenor sax-man Rusty Bryant was clearly in a funky-as-hell mood when he cut this album at the Van Gelder studio for Prestige Records. It succeeds because there is nothing lightweight to be found here of the sort you might encounter on a Lou Donaldson LP, for example. Three … Continue reading Rusty Bryant – Fire Eater (1971)

Jimmy Smith – Root Down (1972)

The intoxicating, sweaty atmosphere of The Bombay Bicycle Club in Los Angeles on the evening of February 8, 1972 is faultlessly trapped forever on this excellent live release by Hammond B3 maestro Jimmy Smith. Energised by the young street-wise musicians in his new line-up and inspired to investigate new directions in groove-saturated jazz, Smith unwittingly … Continue reading Jimmy Smith – Root Down (1972)

Shirley Scott – Shirley Scott & The Soul Saxes (1969)

Undeservedly obscure but near essential in your collection, this recording from the peak Atlanta Records soul era features some major players and a great set list. In itself this is no guarantee of a classic; this dynamite disc, however, delivers the goods in abundance. Organist Shirley Scott had been a prolific soul-jazz recording artist since … Continue reading Shirley Scott – Shirley Scott & The Soul Saxes (1969)

Ronnie Foster – The Two-Headed Freap (1972)

I have no idea what a freap is, and a two-headed specimen is something I can't begin to imagine. Regardless, this sparkling slice of funked out soul jazz is a pure document of the times from which it emerged. Many jazz purists were dismayed that Blue Note would dare release anything so unashamedly contemporary, but … Continue reading Ronnie Foster – The Two-Headed Freap (1972)

Dr. Lonnie Smith – Drives (1970)

Before he started wearing a turban and styling himself as "Doctor", Lonnie Smith was a leading light among the many soul-jazz organ players that emerged in the late 60s. Signed to the Blue Note label he produced some of the more original and interesting albums of the genre and spun his sound on discs by … Continue reading Dr. Lonnie Smith – Drives (1970)

The New Mastersounds- The Nashville Session (2016)

True to their retro agenda, British four-piece funksters The New Mastersounds recorded this well honed set live in the studio in front of an audience made up of invited fans, whisked the tapes to the vinyl pressing plant with orders to punch out no more than one thousand copies and loaded their gear into the … Continue reading The New Mastersounds- The Nashville Session (2016)

Booker T & The MG’s – Melting Pot (1971)

With a cover that vaguely resembles The Doors L.A. Woman which was released only three months later, and a title track that channels 'Riders On The Storm' with a slightly less foreboding "killer on the road..." vibe about it, Booker T & The MG's were tuned in to a similar stream for their final group … Continue reading Booker T & The MG’s – Melting Pot (1971)

Herbie Hancock – Thrust (1974)

Realising his early '70s "space-albums" Mwandishi, Crossings and Sextant had hardly set the world on fire, Herbie Hancock was deeply conflicted. The man wanted to make audacious art but he also wanted to be loved. By wishing so much to be considered by the critics as a jazz-great alongside Coltrane and Miles Davis he forgot … Continue reading Herbie Hancock – Thrust (1974)

Reuben Wilson – Blue Breakbeats

A jazz-heavy diet rich with high-end finesse can sometimes leave you feeling malnourished and light-headed, and you may find yourself craving some deeply satisfying street-food served on a wonky plastic plate or, even better, in a paper bag. This 1998 compilation of the funkiest tracks from organist Reuben Wilson's first three albums is the equivalent … Continue reading Reuben Wilson – Blue Breakbeats