109

Charles Kynard: Legends of Acid Jazz

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
Charles Kynard (1933-79) had a brief, rather low-key career as an organist. By day, he maintained a full-time career working with kids with special needs and taught piano between gigs and his job. He only recorded infrequently, doing sessions and two albums under his own name for Pacific Jazz in the early 1960s and several sessions and three records under his own name for Mainstream Records during 1971-74. But it is, perhaps, the four records he did for Prestige between 1968 and 1970 that the organist is best known for. Legends of Acid Jazz combines the last two of these, Afro-Disiac and Wa-Tu-Wa-Zui.

On both, Kynard showcases his remarkable ability to exploit the heck out of an interesting groove. The best of his originals usually sticks to variations of the blues or out-and-out boogaloos. But it's the machine-gun attack of his left hand and the churning grind he maintains with his feet - despite the ever-presence of a bassist - that separates Kynard's playing from the crowd. The counterpoint he offers with his right hand is what usually puts the fun in his funk.

Afro-Disiac pits the organist in a quintet with tenor staple Houston Person and elevated by the presence of guitarist Grant Green. This was a reunion of sorts for Kynard and Green, the two having appeared together on 1968's The Soul Brotherhood. The originals, mostly by Kynard's school chum Richard Fritz, and Kynard's eloquent cushioning offer an ideal environment for the guitarist - much more favorable than Green's own recordings from the period.

Kynard is more of a featured presence on the Wa-Tu-Wa-Zui, adding his electric piano stylings to "Winter's Child" and the dance floor classic, "Zebra Walk." Here, Kynard revels in a sextet that features the much-lamented honker Rusty Bryant, trumpeter Virgil Jones and guitarist Melvin Sparks. The tunes aren't as memorable as the first session and the playing doesn't have the edge or energy that Kynard could generate elsewhere (for evidence, check out the monster Reelin' with the Feelin', which is paired with Wa-Tu-Wa-Zui on the British BGP CD). But this "legend of acid jazz" is worth hearing and exploring and for fans of guitarist Grant Green, the first six songs are required listening.

Songs:Afro-Disiac; Bella Donna; Trippin'; Odds On; Sweetheart; Chanson du Nuit; Wa-Tu-Wa-Zui (Beautiful People); Winter's Child; Zebra Walk; Something; Change Up.

Players:Charles Kynard: organ, electric piano; Houston Person, Rusty Bryant: tenor sax; Virgil Jones: trumpet; Grant Green, Melvin Sparks: guitar; Jimmy Lewis: Fender bass; Idris Muhammad, Bernard Purdie: drums.

| Record Label: Prestige Records | Style: Funk/Groove


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Jimmy Smith Jimmy Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Grant Green Grant Green
guitar
Houston Person Houston Person
sax, tenor
Dr. Lonnie Smith Dr. Lonnie Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Tony Monaco Tony Monaco
organ, Hammond B3
Jimmy McGriff Jimmy McGriff
organ, Hammond B3
Larry Young Larry Young
organ, Hammond B3
Charles Earland Charles Earland
organ, Hammond B3
Joey DeFrancesco Joey DeFrancesco
organ, Hammond B3
Johnny "Hammond" Smith Johnny "Hammond" Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Richard "Groove" Holmes Richard "Groove" Holmes
organ, Hammond B3
Jack McDuff Jack McDuff
organ, Hammond B3

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Flow" CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 9, 2016
Read "Daylight Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Subterranea" CD/LP/Track Review Subterranea
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Brain//Child" CD/LP/Track Review Brain//Child
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Groovin’ Hard - Live at the Penthouse 1964 - 1968" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin’ Hard - Live at the Penthouse 1964 - 1968
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 11, 2017
Read "Brasil L.I.K.E" CD/LP/Track Review Brasil L.I.K.E
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!