Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

225

Jack McDuff Big Band: Prelude

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Prelude | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Prestige Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Ariel CD/LP/Track Review Ariel
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Fukushima CD/LP/Track Review Fukushima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Dedication CD/LP/Track Review Dedication
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Surface of Inscription CD/LP/Track Review Surface of Inscription
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "Elusive" CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read "Chant" CD/LP/Track Review Chant
by Nicola Negri
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "Wee +3" CD/LP/Track Review Wee +3
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Signals" CD/LP/Track Review Signals
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "Strange Voodoo from Electric Salad Studio: Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Strange Voodoo from Electric Salad Studio: Volume 1
by Jack Gold-Molina
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "Hanukkah" CD/LP/Track Review Hanukkah
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 8, 2017

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!

Please support out sponsor