Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
210

Jimmy Witherspoon: Blue Spoon/ Spoon In London

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
‘Spoon’ was a singer who regularly defied rote categorization. The rudiments of his vocal approach were most prevalently built from the blues, but over a career that spanned decades he sang in a range of styles that ran the gamut from gospel to pop. Jazz was also a favorite song source for the singer, and Blue Spoon, the first album collected on this Prestige two-fer, finds him fitting his bluesy baritone into the context of a top-flight jazz combo. Kenny Burrell’s tasteful picking offers a lush melodic momentum in confluence with Gildo Mahone’s relaxed comping, to which Spoon responds in kind—rolling out the verses with a heavy slathering of heady soul. On the rhythmic end, Roy Haynes makes ample use of his ride cymbal in setting up a supple cadence and bassist Eddie Khan in turn anchors the bottom with a pulsing array of walking lines. Track lengths remain short and sweet, but the band never rushes matters, squeezing a full serving of emotion into the few minutes allotted for each.

The disc’s second LP offering, Spoon in London, is a different beast entirely. An unabashedly commercial affair steeped in the faddish mod sounds of the mid-60s, a full studio orchestra with strings, electric guitars and small coterie of female backup singers backs Spoon. His voice still manages to cut through most of the effluvium and he sings the often-maudlin lyrics with largely undiminished conviction. Benny Golson, who was in the midst of a regrettable pop music infatuation, provides the orchestral arrangements and the majority of tunes sound like predictable artifacts of their era. Perhaps the most pressing question is why these two sessions, so disparate in sound, were tied together. As it stands it’s a hit paired with a miss and makes the whole package only a qualified success.

Prestige on the web: http://www.fantasyjazz.com


Track Listing: I Wonder/ It

Personnel: Jimmy Witherspoon- vocals; Gildo Mahones- piano; Kenny Burrell- guitar; Eddie Khan- bass; Roy Haynes- drums; Orchestra arranged by Benny Golson*. Recorded: February 20, 1964, Englewood Cliffs, NJ and June 1965, London*

| Record Label: Prestige Records | Style: Blues


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Urban Singing Legend
Urban Singing Legend
JSP Records
2006
buy
[no cover]
Rockin' With Spoon
HighNote
1992
buy
[no cover]
Spoon So Easy
HighNote
1990
buy
[no cover]
Rockin' L.A.
HighNote
1989
buy
[no cover]
First Reunion
HighNote
1988
buy
[no cover]
Midnight Lady Called...
HighNote
1986
buy
Charlie Parker Charlie Parker
sax, alto
Dizzy Gillespie Dizzy Gillespie
trumpet
Howlin' Wolf Howlin' Wolf
vocalist
Memphis Slim Memphis Slim
piano
Joe Williams Joe Williams
vocalist
T-Bone Walker T-Bone Walker
guitar, electric
Jimmy Rushing Jimmy Rushing
vocalist
Big Joe Turner Big Joe Turner
vocalist
Big Maceo Big Maceo
piano
Big Bill Broonzy Big Bill Broonzy
guitar, acoustic
Jimmy Reed Jimmy Reed
guitar, electric

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.