Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

222

Jimmy McGriff: Straight Up

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count


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 associate David "Fathead" Newman and (in an inspired move), Frank Wess. Rodney Jones (a ringer for the jazzier George Benson) and Wayne Boyd are on guitar and Bernard Purdie mans the drums.

The highlight of the set is Newman's title cut, a slow, dark, funky blues featuring both hornmen wailing on flute with signature commentary by the leader. The obligatory funk track — the Isley Brothers classic, "It's Your Thing" — starts off right. But at nine minutes, the vamp goes on a little longer than necessary. McGriff is certainly in his gospel-blues element here, though, and offers wonderful, heated commentary on his Hammond X-B3, a sort of synthesized organ that provides richer sound potential and, in McGriff's hands, emits a likeable, identifiable sound.

The group, steered, more than led by McGriff, goes back to the lounge for the Basie-like blues of McGriff's "Doin My Thing," Jones's "Blues For The Baby Grand," Newman's "Brother Griff" and the less-than-thrilling arrangements of standards "It Had To Be You" and "Oleo." But despite the sometimes corny atmosphere, each tune still contains at least one interesting solo.

Straight Up isn't perfect. But the variety on display here is nice and the ageless organ master proves he can still grind with a style that's worth hearing.

Songs:Doin' My Thing; It Had To Be You; Straight Up; Blues For The Baby Grand; It's Your Thing; Dream; Brother Griff; Oleo.

Players:Jimmy McGriff: Hammond X-B3 organ; David "fathead" Newman, Frank Wess: tenor sax, flute; Rodney Jones, Wayne Boyd: guitar; Bernard Purdie: drums.

| Record Label: Fantasy Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Elegy CD/LP/Track Review Elegy
Read Red Nation "1" CD/LP/Track Review Red Nation "1"
Read Pole Of Inaccessibility CD/LP/Track Review Pole Of Inaccessibility
Read Infinitude CD/LP/Track Review Infinitude
Read Madjafalao CD/LP/Track Review Madjafalao
Read Playing the 60s CD/LP/Track Review Playing the 60s
Read "Natural" CD/LP/Track Review Natural
Read "I Can Do All Things" CD/LP/Track Review I Can Do All Things
Read "The Linda Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review The Linda Sessions
Read "Rumbler" CD/LP/Track Review Rumbler
Read "Trajectoire" CD/LP/Track Review Trajectoire
Read "Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Paris

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!