225

Jack McDuff Big Band: Prelude

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Jack McDuff Big Band: Prelude McDuff was one of the artists able to capitalize on the success of Jimmy Smith, who briefly made organ combos fashionable in the sixties. Prelude is the third in a series of McDuff compilations that comb his prolific Prestige years for the best material. Whereas the first two were split between live and studio recordings, this recent disc covers the tracks recorded with a big band under the leadership of Benny Golson.

This new approach was an obvious attempt to attract a crowd who may have had their fill of Smith albums and were looking for something new, and thus features a lot less of the grease and blues that organ groups generally offer. However, a happy medium is achieved between the combo and the ensemble on the first half, which comprises one entire album.

The high-powered horn riffs adds an extra punch to the more standard fare, while adding subtlety to the more nuanced ventures like Prelude, a feat that the organ-guitar-drums setup could never have achieved. Everything clicks on the first half, but the rest of the album is laden with inferior material; in an attempt to carve out new territory for the organ, McDuff sacrifices a lot of what makes the setting compelling in the first place. The guitarists are buried in the mix and the arrangements are overly exacting and rehearsed, squelching the off the cuff jam session feel that predominates the best organ records.

Along with George Benson’s “Rock A Bye” – a serviceable blues – the only standout track is the Pink Panther Theme; what could have been a hackneyed version evolves into a steaming “Fables of Faubus” style workout in the middle. Except for these two tunes, the latter half is mostly forgettable, featuring too many tunes that just don’t fit the presentation, like the rinky-dink “English Country Gardens” and “Shortnin’ Bread.” The last four tracks were recorded late in the sixties and, given the times, represent the inevitably horrid outcome of a fixation on horn-driven rock’n’roll.

Still, it’s hard to argue against a collection that delivers a full album’s worth of great songs before it’s half over. Hardly essential, but those who've appreciated the other McDuff albums will find something to enjoy here.


Track Listing: 1. A Kettle of Fish 2. Candlelight 3. Put On A Happy Facce 4. Prelude 5. Mean To Me 6. Carry Me Home 7. Easy Living 8. Oh Look At Me Now 9. Dig Cousin Will 10. Theme (from 'The Carpetbaggers') 11. Theme (from 'The Pink Panther') 12. You'd Better Love Me 13. Once In A Lifetime 14. Rock-A-Bye 15. English Country Gardens 16. Shortnin' Bread 17. Walk On By 18. Talking Bout My Woman 19. Jersey Bounce 20. Too Many Fish in the Sea.

Personnel: Jack McDuff-organ; various personnel including George Benson, Pat Martino-guitar; Red Holloway, Harold Ousley-sax; Joe Dukes-drums; Bennie Golson-arranger.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Prestige Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Kenny Burrell Kenny Burrell
guitar
George Benson George Benson
guitar
Jimmy Smith Jimmy Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Grant Green Grant Green
guitar
Dr. Lonnie Smith Dr. Lonnie Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Lou Donaldson Lou Donaldson
saxophone
Jimmy McGriff Jimmy McGriff
organ, Hammond B3
Charles Earland Charles Earland
organ, Hammond B3
Joey DeFrancesco Joey DeFrancesco
organ, Hammond B3
Donald Byrd Donald Byrd
trumpet
Richard "Groove" Holmes Richard "Groove" Holmes
organ, Hammond B3
Big John Patton Big John Patton
organ, Hammond B3

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Groovin'" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin'
by Jeff Winbush
Published: November 2, 2016
Read "Cosmic Nickelodeon" CD/LP/Track Review Cosmic Nickelodeon
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 14, 2016
Read "Linus + Skarbø / Leroux" CD/LP/Track Review Linus + Skarbø / Leroux
by Dave Wayne
Published: April 21, 2016
Read "Tyrant Lizard" CD/LP/Track Review Tyrant Lizard
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "Goodbye Red Rose (2008/9)" CD/LP/Track Review Goodbye Red Rose (2008/9)
by John Eyles
Published: October 16, 2016
Read "The Catfish" CD/LP/Track Review The Catfish
by Chris Mosey
Published: February 15, 2017

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!