All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

239

Les McCann: Pump It Up

By

Sign in to view read count
The venerable jazz pianist and vocalist Les McCann finds himself a master of funk on Pump It Up. With a “tight as a fist” rhythm section of bass, drums, guitar and Hammond B-3 organ, McCann’s band has a groove funkier than the law allows. Crisp drumming with hammering backbeats, plus chunky bass and organ figures underscore McCann’s vocals that at times more closely resemble a rap recitation than singing. Honking saxophone solos and harmonious background vocals that comment on McCann’s vocal lines in the great Rhythm and Blues tradition complete the package.

The performances on the recording include guest appearances by jazz diva Dianne Reeves on the Bill Withers ballad “You Just Can’t Smile it Away,” and veteran keyboard player and vocalist Billy Preston on “Tryin’ to Make it Real” as well as the strongly gospel inspired “The Truth.” Blues singer Bonnie Raitt also makes an appearance on “The Truth,” adding her personal style of delivering “the word.”

All in all, Les McCann’s Pump It Up is a delightfully grooving piece of work. It offers high-level musicianship and some incredibly tight playing that could serve as a clinic in how to play in a great funky R&B band. This CD is recommended for Les McCann fans and those whose musical interests expand to include the world of funky Rhythm and Blues.


Track Listing: Pump It Up, Buckshot and LaFonque, Let it Ride (the Train), I Cant' Stand It, So What, You Just Can't Smile It Away, Tryin' to Make it Real, The Truth, Daylight, Funk It (Let the Music Play), I Can't Stand It--reprise

Personnel: Les McCann, vocals; Ricky Peterson, Hammon B-3 organ; John Robinson, drums; Paul Jackson Jr., rhythm guitar; Abraham Laboriel, bass; Marcus Miller, bass; Maceo Parker, saxophone; Billy Preston, keyboards; Bill Evans, saxophone; Bonnie Raitt, vocals; Dianne Reeves, vocals; Paulinho da Costa, Latin percussion; Keith Anderson, saxophone; Tom Saviano, saxophone; Bill Churchville, trumpet; Tony Maiden, guitar; Maxaynh Lewis, Margaret Fowler Alan Abrahams, and Jim Gilstrap, background vocals.

Title: Pump It Up | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Intakt Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Building a Jazz Library
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

Related Articles

Read Drift CD/LP/Track Review
Drift
by Paul Rauch
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Journey Moments CD/LP/Track Review
Journey Moments
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Moku Maluhia - Peaceful Island CD/LP/Track Review
Moku Maluhia - Peaceful Island
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Night Concert CD/LP/Track Review
Night Concert
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Rumah Batu CD/LP/Track Review
Rumah Batu
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 17, 2018
Read The Bat Swings! CD/LP/Track Review
The Bat Swings!
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 17, 2018
Read "Ghost Music" CD/LP/Track Review Ghost Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2018
Read "Live at Pyatt Hall" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read "Movement Of Lives" CD/LP/Track Review Movement Of Lives
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 3, 2018
Read "Live at Kolarac" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Kolarac
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "After Bach" CD/LP/Track Review After Bach
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 2, 2018
Read "Dreaming Spirits" CD/LP/Track Review Dreaming Spirits
by Kris Perdew
Published: October 27, 2017