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Jimmy McGriff: McGriff Avenue

Joel Roberts By

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Jimmy McGriff was originally slated to record this album on September 11, 2001 at Rudy van Gelder's studio in New Jersey, but the tragic events of that day led to an obvious need for rescheduling. As a result, the session was split in two, with somewhat different lineups at each. However, fans of the organist's trademark down-and-dirty B-3 blues and funk can rest assured: despite the complications, the results are pure McGriff.

McGriff assembled a top notch lineup of soul jazz veterans for these sessions, among them saxophonists Ronnie Cuber and Bill Easley, guitarists Rodney Jones and Melvin "Sparks" Hassan, electric bassist Wilbur Bascomb, and the funkiest of funk drummers, Bernard Purdie. Together, they rumble through a set of new and vintage McGriff material, including new arrangements of his hits "All About My Girl" and "The Worm." The title tune recalls the old school funk that was McGriff's bread and butter in the '60s, while a nearly 11-minute workout on Jimmy Forrest's "Soul Street" gives everyone room to strut their blues chops. The finale is a deep-gospel take on "America The Beautiful," done a la Ray Charles, an obvious, though moving nod to 9-11.

While no new ground is broken here, McGriff and company evoke the down home mood of the classic soul jazz years. It ain't quite as greasy as the old days, but it still tastes good.

Track Listing: 1. All About My Girl (McGriff) - 7:50 2. McGriff Avenue (Jones) - 7:35 3. Soul Street (Forrest) - 10:50 4. The Answer Is in the Blues (Jones) - 8:13 5. The Great Unknown (Cuber/McGriff) - 6:45 6. Dissertation on the Blues (Jones) - 8:35 7. The Worm (McGriff) - 6:30 8. America, the Beautiful (Bates/Ward) - 3:02

Personnel: Don Williams - Drums; Ronnie Cuber - Baritone Sax; Bill Easley - Tenor Sax; Rodney Jones - Guitar; Jimmy McGriff - Organ; Gordon Beadle - Tenor Sax; Melvin "Sparks" Hassan - Guitar; Bernard "Pretty" Purdie - Drums; Wilbur Bascomb, Jr. - Bass.

Title: McGriff Avenue | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz

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