This is Ben Sidran's first Hammond B3 organ project. It's an instrument he has played for forty years, and occasionally (as on his recent radio-friendly CD Nick's Bump) featured on recordings. But CIEN NOCHES - the title refers to the fact that over a period of ten years he performed one hundred nights at Madrid's famed Cafe Central - is the first time he has paid direct tribute to the instrument and the club scene it spawned.
The album includes the original songs "Get It Yourself", an acerbic commentary on the rock and roll industry, and "Cave Dancing", an extended parable of jazz and the roots of religion. In addition, it features two Bob Dylan classics, "Gotta Serve Somebody" and "Subterranean Homesick Blues" along with saxophonist Bob Rockwell's "Drinkin' and Thinkin", an obvious party favorite.
John Hammond's latest album marks a major departure in one respect – for the first time in anyone's memory, he sings, but plays nothing on one of his records, while Little Charlie & the Nightcats, led by guitarist Charlie Baty, handle the guitars and everything else. The difference is very subtle, the playing maybe a little less flashy than Hammond's already restrained work – think of how good Muddy Waters sounded on the early-'60s records where he sang and didn't play. And that comparison is an apt one – even more than 35 years after he started, Hammond inevitably ends up sounding like its 1961 and he's working at Chess studios in Chicago, cutting songs between Muddy Waters sessions. Harpist Rick Estrin also contributes a smooth and eminently enjoyable original amid a brace of covers of blues standards. There is not a weak number here, and this band is a kick to listen to, sounding more naturally authentic than anybody in the 1990's has a right to (Baty's quiet pyrotechnics on "Lookin' for Trouble" would make this record worth owning, even if Hammond's singing and the rest of the songs weren't as good as they are).
The organ can often take a back seat in the pecking order of great Jazz instruments but underappreciate it at your peril. The likes of Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Booker T and Ray Charles, to name but a few, made the instrument their own while crafting jazz cuts of dazzling brilliance.
This two-fer CD pairs 1972's Live at the Lighthouse with the less impressive, though still worthy, 1974 album Kharma, which was recorded at that year's Montreux Jazz Festival. As the head of a sextet on Live at the Lighthouse, Earland spearheaded some first-class soul-jazz, which integrated some funk and rock of the early '70s without sounding like a watered-down cocktail of all those styles (as many other soul-jazz-pop albums of the time did). The horn section of James Vass on sax and Elmer Coles on trumpet leaned more toward soul than jazz, as heard on the opening instrumental cover of Sly & the Family Stone's "Smilin'." The Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun" wasn't the greatest tune to attempt, though Earland gamely put it into a boppish swing arrangement.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. A sweet Atlantic soul groover from Brother Jack McDuff – and a set that has him tightening up his Hammond sound from his earlier years at Prestige Records! The tunes here are short and punched-up – almost instrumental soul numbers in their construction, but still filled with plenty of jazz – thanks to Jack's mad solos on organ, and some killer drums from Joe Dukes and Bernard Purdie! Other players include George Coleman on tenor, Cornell Dupree on guitar, and Buddy Lucas on baritone sax – and arrangements are by JJ Jackson and Jack himself.
While organist Johnny "Hammond" Smith never attained the status of Jimmy Smith, he nonetheless fronted first-rate bands and accumulated a fine discography. Recorded in 1961, Opus de Funk brings together two Smith albums in one package, Stimulation and Opus de Funk. Since the same band – vibraphonist Freddie McCoy, guitarist Eddie McFadden, bassist Wendell Marshall, and drummer Leo Stevens – played on both sets, and since both albums aren't very long by contemporary standards, the pair fit snuggly on the same CD. The really unusual element here is the presence of McCoy, because one doesn't usually associate vibes with jazz organ combos.
Reissue features the latest DSD remastering and HR cutting. Also features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD players). An excellent piece of early soul-jazz, 1960's Talk That Talk isn't as bop-oriented as Shirley Scott's albums with Stanley Turrentine from the same period, as flashy and ornate as the albums Jimmy Smith was starting to make with Creed Taylor and Lalo Schifrin, or as funky and blues-based as the best of Jimmy McGriff or "Brother" Jack McDuff. Smith's playing on this album is low-key almost to the point of being conservative, deeply soulful without resorting to what would soon become tired funk clichés.