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)

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)

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)

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

Stanley Turrentine – Hustlin’ (1964)

Having hustled his way onto over two dozen Blue Note recording sessions in just five years as a leader or sideman prior to this release, tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine's presence was increasingly getting on the nerves of Blue Note boss Alfred Lion, who was known to lock himself in his office to avoid the perpetually … Continue reading Stanley Turrentine – Hustlin’ (1964)

Hank Crawford – Double Cross (1968)

This fine soul-jazz/R&B release is a real showcase for Hank Crawford's talents as alto sax soloist and arranger for horns (featuring David Newman on tenor and Pepper Adams on baritone). The skills he learned as musical director for Ray Charles in the early 60's are used to full effect here. This is an album of … Continue reading Hank Crawford – Double Cross (1968)

Lou Donaldson -Everything I Play Is Funky (1970)

Amidst a handful of LPs that individually were a jumble of mod-groovy and commercial cornball, Lou Donaldson and his happy gang truly click on this good natured album from 1970. Cultural revolution dominated the thinking of black and white America at the time, but you wouldn't know it by listening to this upbeat Blue Note … Continue reading Lou Donaldson -Everything I Play Is Funky (1970)

Leon Spencer – Where I’m Coming From (1972)

Leon Spencer's final recording is an understated but very groovy document that features keyboard solos with a restrained horn section and funky rhythm guitar providing tight and tasty support. Covers of contemporary tunes by Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Steve Wonder and The Four Tops simmer without coming to the boil, but it is the Spencer … Continue reading Leon Spencer – Where I’m Coming From (1972)

George Braith – Extension (1965)

This album is the high-point in the recording career of soul-jazz sax man George Braith, a New York native whose music didn't set the world on its end but he shaped a distinctive sound by occasionally playing two saxes simultaneously, having been influenced by the mighty Rahsaan Roland Kirk. But where Kirk would use his … Continue reading George Braith – Extension (1965)

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 … Continue reading Jimmy McGriff – Electric Funk (1969)