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Journey into Jazz

The Funk Transition

By Published: April 6, 2003
Big John Patton played it too –and Blue Note’s ‘Cissy Strut’ happens to be a classic example of the funky element captured ever so thoroughly by this slow and steady organist with his very different style and approach to both jazz and funk. I don’t know who’s the brilliant saxophonist with him on this phenomenal number, but both alto and soprano sax sound celestial indeed. The whole funky number is properly ‘balanced’ in the sense, there is just enough of solos and tootin’ together and screaming for effect, with an unusual backbeat holding it up all through. Interesting organist, and an interesting number, with a high FQ.

Bro. Jack McDuff is another indefatigable organist, who has maintained a very high FQ throughout his career. Running along with him is Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes, and there is luckily a Blue Note recording that has brought them together, named 'Hunk o’ Funk' written by McDuff. It would please me if someone could tell me why the epithet of ‘Brother’ has always been used with McDuff. Was he a priest? Or the handle just stuck, as in case of many other jazzmen?

There were a clutch of guitarists who exploited their own FQ to the hilt... and the best example is Grant Green who has accompanied Jimmy Smith on many recordings. On his own, GG holds forth in great style and his ability to swing through a funky number holding the band together is unique. Another Blue Note star! Green succumbed to his drug habit somewhat early in life but left behind a wonderful legacy –and it seems his versatility was so great that he used to use different names to record on several sessions a week... so that the public does not suspect that the good old guitarist is wearing himself out, overfeeding them.

Well that’s about all this time. Have fun, take care and listen to more jazz...cheerio till next month...



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