As is the case with most organists, Willette was heavily influenced by keyboard titan Jimmy Smith. Unfortunately, in contrast to Smith's prolific output, Baby Face recorded just 4 albums under his own name and then disappeared from the jazz scene. "Face to Face", recorded in 1961, was one of two sessions he did for Blue Note (the second "Stop and Listen" was reissued last year) and features Fred Jackson on tenor, the fine R+B/jazz guitar of Grant Green and drummer Ben Dixon. The 6 tunes presented are all Willette originals with the exception of "Whatever Lola Wants". The beefy tones of tenor man Jackson, another long forgotten player, are always on display and he contributes a number of sly, witty solos. Equal space is afforded to Green and his blues-rooted, single note runs mesh perfectly with those of Willette. This rare collectors album is one of six new "Connoisseur" titles recently released by Blue Note and only a limited number of this CD will be available. I know that some of the early releases in this series are "sold out" so if you're as big a fan of the soulful sound of the Hammond B-3 as I am, grab this one A.S.A.P.!
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