210

Jimmy Witherspoon: Blue Spoon/ Spoon In London

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Jimmy Witherspoon: Blue Spoon/ Spoon In London ‘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*

Title: Blue Spoon/ Spoon In London | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Prestige Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Find Your Wings" CD/LP/Track Review Find Your Wings
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 5, 2016
Read "Moanin'" CD/LP/Track Review Moanin'
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "The Candy Men" CD/LP/Track Review The Candy Men
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 28, 2016
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "O Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review O Horizonte
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Columbia Years 1968-1969" CD/LP/Track Review Columbia Years 1968-1969
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 4, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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