Ron Jackson: Flubby Dubby (2011)
New York-based urban guitarist Ron Jackson blends his soulful jazz sound with elements of R&B, funk and even a touch of the Caribbean mood on Flubby Dubby, his sixth album as leader. Leading his classic organ trio, also featuring organist Kyle Koeler and drummer Otis Brown III, the album was recorded live at Cecil's Jazz Club in West Orange, New Jersey, with alto saxophonist Bruce Williams and tenor luminary Don Braden augmenting the band on "The Long And Winding Road" and "Love Ballad."
Guitarist Melvin Sparks, part of the burgeoning soul-jazz scene of the late '60s and early '70s, was a friend and mentor to Jackson, producing this date before passing away in March, 2011. The opening "One for Melvin," a swinging bluesy shuffle, serves as a moving dedication to a major influence in the guitarist's development. The swing continues on the grooving "The Look of You," with the trio taking turns soloing on the set's liveliest track. The Lennon/McCartney pop classic "The Long And Winding Road," travels in a different direction, pushed along by a new arrangement featuring Braden and Williams, who jazz up the music by laying down a saxophone background not normally associated with this piece.
The funk comes to life on the title track, recalling instrumental dance songs of James Brown's band with funk saxophonist Maceo Parker. Jackson provides another new arrangement to the R&B classic "Love Ballad," featuring delicious solos from the two guest saxophonists, to roaring applause from the audience. The guitarist himself is no slouch, peeling off one dynamic riff after another, leaving no doubt who's in charge.
Serving as the set's gentle piece, "Stars Fell On Alabama" enters calmly and stays there, riding soft chords from the guitarist with warm organ phrasings shoring up the ballad. "A Calypso Party" suggests the music from a party on a cruise ship to the Islands, while the finale, "Get In The Country," ends the date on a funkier note.
Though a live setting and a one-take-only deal, there are no flubs on Flubby Dubby. Arguably not a standard straight jazz album, Jackson's trio and guests deliver different flavors, delving into an atypical organ trio sound where jazz remains at the root of the music. A veteran journeyman, with this album Jackson affirms his reputation among fellow musicians as a top-tier guitarist in modern jazz.
Track Listing: One For Melvin; The Look of You; The Long And Winding Road; Flubby Dubby; Love Ballad; Stars Fell On Alabama; Technophile; A Calypso Party; Get In The Country.
Personnel: Ron Jackson: guitar; Kyle Koeler: Hammaond B-3 organ; Otis Brown III: drums; Don Braden: tenor saxophone (3, 5); Bruce Williams: alto saxophone (3, 5).
Record Label: Self Produced
Style: Modern Jazz