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McDuff has been well served by reissues this year, what with a pair of two-fers from Fantasy and one from Blue Note. This CD, the flip side of this year’s The Concert McDuff features selections from the remainder of studio recordings not currently in print. Fortunately McDuff was consistent enough of a player that the program never seems like leftovers, and in fact is a wonderful introduction to McDuff for those who have never ventured beyond Jimmy Smith when it came to the Hammond B-3. Like Smith, McDuff delights in greasy blues like the title track and boogaloos like "What's Shakin'", but McDuff also seemed more comfortable wandering into territories which were not always a comfortable fit for the organ. For example, the last few tracks feature McDuff eschewing the soul-jazz idiom for more exploratory waters, including rock’n’roll and Latin Beats, but he always seems to find a way to make the tunes work, whatever the context may be. Although McDuff’s band always featured excellent tenormen like Harold Vick and Red Holloway, the real trump card was always his guitarists, who were frequently undiscovered talents whom McDuff groomed for stardom (usually without success). Eddie Diehl gets the majority of the solo space on this CD and asserts himself as an underappreciated talent. The later portion of the album features George Benson when he could still sizzle (although those who admire Benson’s work would be better served by The Concert McDuff, which features some of Benson’s scariest work ever). Sandwiched in between is a track featuring Ed Jennings, whose country-tinged licks are a jarring contrast to the normal organ accompaniment and make the listener wish for more from this unsung hero. Although Jimmy Smith will always be the king of the Hammond B-3, McDuff more than once asserted himself as a serious contender to the throne. Although not at as high a temperature as the live records, The Last Goodun, shows why.
Track Listing: 1. Your Nose Is Open (McDuff) - 8:15
2. The Last Goodun' (McDuff) - 6:49
3. Scram (McDuff) - 7:39
4. Dink's Dream (McDuff) - 3:48
5. Groanin' (McDuff) - 8:12
6. Hey Lawdy Mama (Reed) - 4:46
7. Drown in My Own Tears (Glover) - 3:09
8. Ballad for Baby (McDuff) - 6:14
9. 9: 20 Special (Warren) - 3:16
10. It's Alvin Again (McDuff) - 3:54
11. Easy to Love (Porter) - 4:54
12. What's Shakin' (McDuff) - 2:44
13. The Morning Song (McDuff) - 3:59
14. Twelve Inches Wide (McDuff) - 8:08
Personnel: Gene Ammons - Sax (Tenor); George Benson - Guitar; Larry Gales -
Bass; Red Holloway - Flute, Sax (Tenor); Bill Jennings - Guitar; Bobby
Donaldson - Drums; Joe Dukes - Drums; Montego Joe - Conga;
Charles K.I. Davis - Sax (Baritone); Buster Cooper - Trombone; Eddie
Diehl - Guitar; Wendell Marshall - Bass; Jack McDuff - Organ; Danny
Turner - Sax (Alto); Harold Vick - Flute, Sax (Tenor).