Another funky, blues–drenched date by Hammond B–3 impresario Brother Jack McDuff and an assortment of intrepid soulmates who excel at bringin’ it home (and cookin’ it with the appropriate seasonings and garnishes). Every recording by McDuff is in a sense predictable, as one knows in advance that there’ll be an abundant supply of down–home music with heavy backbeats, expressive guitars and wailing saxophones — but that doesn’t make it any less exciting or agreeable. McDuff keeps the pot percolating on his seventh Concord release by rearranging the starting lineup from track to track, employing no less than three guitarists (including celebrated alumni George Benson and Mark Whitfield), two tenors (Holloway, who played with McDuff more than 30 years ago, and young lion Weldon), and even pushing aside the Hammond for a bluesy, nocturnal piano sortie on the Avery Parrish classic, “After Hours.” The various rhythm sections keep everyone on their toes, with bassist Gravis and drummer Petschauer making an especially strong impression on the peppery ”Joe Dukes” (written by McDuff as a tribute to his drummer from the mid–’60s). Benson, making a rare appearance as a sideman, returns to his mainstream roots on “Cold Duck Time” and “The Scratch,” and is especially effective on Gershwin’s “Summertime.” Beals is a standout on his feature, “A Time for Love,” and he, Weldon and guitarist Hart let it all hang out (as does the leader) on the closing blues, “Pettin’ the Cat.” Meanwhile, Whitfield adds a dash of seasoning to “Girl Talk,” “After Hours” and “This Masquerade” (on which Holloway’s plain–spoken tenor shares honors). Home, it’s said, is where the heart is, and McDuff and Co. have more than enough heart to bring this compelling session home in style.
Track listing: Cold Duck Time; The Scratch; Girl Talk; After Hours; This Masquerade; A Time for Love; Moohah! Joe Dukes; Summertime; Pettin’ the Cat (57:26).