Organist Roosevelt "Baby Face" Willette is both a shadowy figure and something of a legend in the 1960s jazz scene. While he played with Blue Note heavyweights Grant Green and Lou Donaldson, he had drifted into obscurity by the '70s. But while on the scene, Willette made some fine music in the soul-jazz vein, and FACE TO FACE (1961) was his debut. Willette's Jimmy Smith-inspired organ pilots a combo of Fred Jackson's tenor and the aforementioned Green's ace guitar through some earnest, tasty, blues-tinged grooves. While it's no masterpiece, fans of soul-jazz should snap up FACE TO FACE while they can.
Probably the greatest set in Baby Face Willette's all-too-slim discography, Stop and Listen matches the organist with the hugely sympathetic team of guitarist Grant Green and drummer Ben Dixon (the same trio lineup who recorded Green's debut LP, Grant's First Stand). With no saxophonist this second time around, it's just Willette and Green in the solo spotlight, and they play marvelously off of one another. ~ AllMusic
Once I'd stopped asking loads of questions like "Why Now?" and "Who did this?" and I'd started listening to the music herein, I knew that this is a 'must have' pairing for anybody remotely interested in the genre of Hammond led organ albums. The first question was asked because it's 43 years since these two albums were recorded, and they've only been available intermitently in various forms in the intervening years,and it takes a Spanish based company to provide the answer to the second. The two albums are presented in the reverse order to which they were recorded with "Mo-Rock" coming from two sessions in March and April 1964 and "Behind the 8 ball" from a single session in November of the same year. ~ Amazon
This release presnts all of Grant Green and Baby Face Willette's collaborative albums as leaders. Recorded in 1961-62, they consist of the LP "Grant's First Stand" (Blue Note BST-84064), issued under the guitarist's name, and “Baby Face” Willette's albums "Face to Face" (Blue Note BST-84068) and "Stop and Listen" (Blue Note BST-84084). Other than their three LPs as leaders, Green and Willette only recorded together on Lou Donaldson's album Here ‘Tis, from which it has been added the title song, a long blues, as a bonus.
Stop and Listen was the last session that organist Baby Face Willette made for Blue Note. He came in with guns blazing on Lou Donaldson's Here 'Tis, made his and Grant Green's debut recordings, and then this fiery trio album in May 1961. Willette was an earthy, exciting player and he, Green, and Ben Dixon would have become one of the premier organ trios in jazz had he stuck around. This great album includes three standards (one a bonus track), four originals, and Nat Adderley's "Work Song." The whole affair cooks from first tune to last.