Due to the strong lineup and the basic but perfectly suitable material, this Jimmy McGriff CD is well worth picking up. The groovin' organist teams up with David "Fathead" Newman (heard on alto, tenor and flute), Rusty Bryant (doubling on tenor and alto), either Mel Brown or Wayne Boyd on guitar, and drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdie. Basic originals alternate with such standbys as "I'm Getting Sentimental over You" and "Georgia on My Mind," with everyone playing up to their potential. A fun and swinging session.
Between 1976 and 1979, Jimmy McGriff was often featured in the disco-style productions of Groove Merchant house arranger Brad Baker. The records usually surrounded the great organist with a huge army of studio musicians, big horn sections, string parts and often heard McGriff playing keyboards other than organ. THE MEAN MACHINE, from 1976, was the first of these productions and McGriff doesn't even play organ here.
Jimmy McGriff's B-3 sound was always rooted in blues and gospel, and his soloing could be very smooth and polished. But every once in a while, he had to break out of his own soul box and tear it up on a session. The Worm, issued on Solid State Records in 1968, is the very first place he did. This is the first true, all-out funky burner from McGriff, and it sounds very different from most of the other titles on his shelf. Having a band like this helps: trumpeter Blue Mitchell, tenor saxophonist Fats Theus (with Bob Ashton on baritone and Danny Turner on alto), alternating drummers Mel Lewis and Grady Tate, bassist Bob Bushnell, and guitarist Thornel Schwartz were all in their prime in 1968. The title track, written by McGriff, Theus, and producer Sonny Lester, sets the tone for the whole platter.
The style and the class of these two sacred monsters of music, is best expressed in these very special performances in an unusual but extremely involving duo! A great record!
This funky little holiday gem from 1964 was originally released on Sue Records and was actually Jimmy McGriff's highest charting album, rising to number 15 on the pop charts that year. Naturally his gritty Hammond B-3 playing is front and center here, given wonderful support by drummer Jimmie Smith, guitarist Larry Frazier, and Rudolph Johnson on soprano and tenor saxophone. The whole affair is surprisingly energetic and spunky, and tracks like the hard-charging "Christmas With McGriff," the sleigh bell-embedded "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," and the lively "Hip Santa" are all wonderful examples of upbeat soul jazz. Even the version of "Jingle Bells" that closes the set is funked up, riding a chugging rhythm and a bed of sleigh bells into the yuletide night. McGriff could have easily gone through the motions on this holiday session, and that he obviously didn't makes Christmas With Jimmy McGriff even more endearing.