Phillips' 1969 date Sure 'Nuff and its 1970 follow-up, Black Magic – both of them precursors of the modern-day acid jazz sound – are featured on this two-fer release. Sure 'Nuff: The debut set as leader by organist Sonny Phillips is refreshingly free of the usual clichéd funky licks copped off Jimmy Smith and Brother Jack McDuff albums. Very early in his career, the Alabama-born, Chicago-based Phillips trained on piano under Ahmad Jamal, and Jamal's characteristic style remains imprinted on Phillips' loose, easy-flowing solos.
The R&B, soul and boogaloo sounds that make up the singles recorded by James Brown’s right-hand man. Together on CD for the first time. Without Bobby Byrd there would have been no James Brown, whose whole career stems from the moment he crashed into Byrd at a community baseball match in Toccoa, Georgia in 1953. Brown was an inmate of the Alto Reform School, a converted National Guard Armoury in the north of the state. Byrd’s family helped secure Brown’s release, and Byrd then let the youngster join his vocal group.
One of the most successful, most recorded and most influential jazz players of his time, Cal Tjader is these days a largely overlooked figure in the music’s history. Part of the cause of his lack of recognition is present in the reasons he was so successful. Tjader made no great leaps forward harmonically or rhythmically, but instead showed how jazz and Afro-Cuban music could blend together with the vibraphone as the lead instrument, its percussiveness working very well in that musical context. In doing so, he was followed by many others, his commercial success affording him the opportunity to record a great number of albums.