While never quite able to break through to the average jazz consumer in the way that peers such as Willis Jackson, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, and Houston Person had during the ‘60s and ‘70s, Columbus native Rusty Bryant was still definitely one of the “Boss Tenors” and he left behind a small but rewarding catalog of recordings mainly for Prestige. What we have paired here are his last two efforts for the label, 1973’s For The Good Times and 1974’s Until It’s Time For You To Go. While the overall results are somewhat let satisfying than previous triumphs such as Night Train Now and Soul Liberation, there’s still much to recommend these performances especially for those that may be Bryant completists.
The first session sports a rather unique line-up, with the omnipresent Hank Jones heard on Fender Rhodes (sounding very classy on what often seems like a dated sound these days), Joe Beck on guitar, Tony Levin on bass, and Steve Gadd on drums. In fact, the personnel alone almost suggests a Creed Taylor CTI production. Both “For the Good Times” and “Killing Me Softly” are throwaways, but then the real fun starts with a bluesy “The Last One Out.” Following Steve Gadd’s opening pyrotechnics, “A Night In Tunisia” settles down for a relaxed romp that puts Bryant in the spotlight. The breezy bossa treatment of “Looking Through The Eyes Of Love” is perfect and intoxicating, as is the slight touch of reverb that allows Bryant’s tenor to sparkle.
Until It’s Time For You To Go is something different altogether. A large horn section conducted by Horace Ott gives Bryant a full-bodied environment for some funky grooves. “The Red-Eye Special” is the standout track here and one that has been sampled by today’s hip-hop crowd, but then all the cuts seem to simmer at a medium boil. Again, the neophyte might be wise to look elsewhere for a start, but the initiated will probably want to add this one to the collection.
For the Good Times, Killing Me Softly (With His Song), The Last one Out, Appalachian Green, A Night in Tunisia, Looking Through the Eyes of Love, Theme from Deep Throat, The Hump Bump, Troubles, The Red-Eye Special, Draggin' the Line, Until It's Time for You To Go, Ga Gang Gang Goong
Rusty Bryant (tenor saxophone)with Hank Jones, Joe Beck, Hugh McCracken, Tony Levin, Steve Gadd, Horace Ott, David Spinozza, Richie Resnikoff, Ernie Hayes, Wilbur Bascomb, Bernard Purdie, George Devens, Jon Faddis, Joe Shepley, Billy Campbell, Garnett Brown, Seldon Powell, Babe Clarke, Heywood Henry
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