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Jimmy McGriff: Nobody Else But Himself

Read "Jimmy McGriff: Nobody Else But Himself" reviewed by Andrew Velez

For two evenings in April, Philadelphia-born Jimmy McGriff celebrated his 70th birthday with a gala gig at New York's Smoke. Wearing a cap reminiscent of the Beatles era, his bulky six-foot frame hunched over the organ, he radiated the intense concentration of a friendly Sumo wrestler. A professional musician since his early teens, he'd evolved firmly into his own groove by the 1970s. Some have labeled his music “acid jazz, but whatever it's called, McGriff knows what he's aiming for, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jimmy McGriff: McGriff Avenue

Read "McGriff Avenue" reviewed by Joel Roberts

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jimmy McGriff: Straight Up

Read "Straight Up" reviewed by Douglas Payne

Despite all-star accompanists and sterling production, organist Jimmy McGriff's Milestone output (since 1983) has more of a lounge-combo sound than the wicked blues he cut for Sue in 1962-65 or the heady grooves of his Groove Merchant and LRC records of the 1970s. Still, Straight Up, the organ grinder's eleventh Milestone recording, occasionally moves out of the lounge and offers its share of interesting moments.Here, McGriff stacks the front line with the double-barreled reeds of regular ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jimmy McGriff: Let's Stay Together

Read "Let's Stay Together" reviewed by Douglas Payne

Between 1966 and 1978, producer Sonny Lester recorded around 30 of organist Jimmy McGriff’s albums for the Solid State, Groove Merchant and LRC labels. During this productive period, McGriff recorded blues and ballads with small groups, swing jazz with all-star big bands, organ battles with Groove Holmes and funky disco outings with various electronic keyboards. Lester has kept this music available on CD through his LRC label – known for its below-budget prices, cheesy cover art and hodge-podge selections. For ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jimmy McGriff: The Dream Team

Read "The Dream Team" reviewed by Douglas Payne

Jimmy McGriff returns to Milestone (after a brief sojourn to Telarc) for a better-than-average outing on The Dream Team. This is as good as it gets -- at least lately. McGriff, an inventive and exciting blues and funk organist, spent the 1980s on Milestone and produced maybe one exciting performance -- “River's Invitation" from 1987's Steppin' Up (with frequent collaborator Hank Crawford). When he strayed to the small label Headfirst in 1991, he got down (and hip) with the terrific ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jimmy McGriff: Electric Funk

Read "Electric Funk" reviewed by Douglas Payne

This 1969 Sonny Lester production was one nearly hopelessly lost slab of solid funk. It often popped up in cut-out bins when records were still waxed. When used-record stores started disappearing, beauties like this started vanishing too. But Blue Note's blessed Rare Groove series has exhumed all 32 minutes of this hard-hitting fon-kee gem (and, to its credit, retained the original but dated cover art too). Acid jazzers are probably already familiar with “The Bird Wave," which appeared on the ...


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