Some how out of the lineage of significant jazz guitarists, the late Jimmy Raney gets left out of the mix. In equal fashion, it seems like his son Doug suffers from the same lack of awareness on the part of the general jazz public. Doug’s choice to reside in Denmark probably doesn’t help the recognition factor either. Fortunately, SteepleChase has chosen on several occasions to provide a recorded forum for the younger Raney’s creative muse.
Opting for a different line-up then utilized on his past SteepleChase efforts, Raney chooses to work in the organ combo format for The Backbeat. In the label’s entire catalog, this marks only the third time a B-3 would be on hand and the second appearance by De Francesco, the other two occasions both being Dave Stryker projects. It proves to be a winning combination, with Raney’s melodic warmth complimented nicely by Joey’s bop histrionics.
As I listen to the relaxed lilt of “Jimmy James” (an original by Doug written for his late dad and his young son) the idea of this perfect combination becomes even more apparent. DeFrancesco keeps the bass plump and full each time the four-chord vamp comes around and even with all his technical ability, Raney takes his time and unfold his own story with patience. Hart is a model of heartening support throughout. He also creates great interest through his imaginative use of cymbal timbres. Other winners are Horace Silver’s title track and Herbie Hancock’s “Driftin’”. But then again, everything here comes out fitting as comfortably as a favorite old flannel shirt.
Love For Sale, Jimmy James, Prelude To a Kiss, The Backbeat, Purple Eyes, Lee, Driftin
Doug Raney- guitar, Joey DeFrancesco- organ, Billy Hart- drums
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