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One of the paragons of the "Texas tenor" style, Don Wilkerson gained his greatest notoriety as a soloist with Ray Charles throughout much of the 50s and 60s. Less known is Wilkerson’s limited work as a leader, the majority of which is collected on this two-disc package from Blue Note. Wilkerson made three albums for the label during the fruitful years of 1962 and 1963: Preach Brother!, Elder Don, and Shoutin’! All three records feature guitarist Grant Green, who certainly knows how to cook in such a setting. The first also boasts a classic Blue Note rhythm section: Sonny Clark on piano, Butch Warren on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums, with Jual Curtis sitting in on tambourine on "Dem Tambourines" and "Camp Meetin’." On the second album, Johnny Acea takes over on piano, with Lloyd Trotman on bass and Willie Bobo on drums. The last of the three sessions is particularly down and dirty, with Green, John Patton on organ and Ben Dixon on drums.
The prevailing ethos of Preach Brother! is simply summarized: blues, blues, and more blues. And not the fancied-up bebop variety, but straight-up shuffle and boogie and soul. Every track is a blues except for the closer, "Pigeon Peas," a funky thing in AABA form. The two later albums are a bit more compositionally varied. Wilkerson begins Elder Don with exquisitely singing tenor work on "Senorita Eula" and then salutes his fellow Texan Bob Wills with "San Antonio Rose." (Grant Green’s solo on the latter has to be heard to be believed.) From this point on there’s still plenty of blues, but Wilkerson breaks it up with originals like "Scrappy" and "Drawin’ a Tip." He also showcases a totally different aspect of his talent on the ballads "Poor Butterfly" and "Easy Living."
Track Listing: Disc One: 1. Jeanie-Weenie 2. Homesick Blues 3. Dem Tambourines 4. Camp Meetin
Personnel: Don Wilkerson, tenor sax; Grant Green, guitar; Sonny Clark, Johnny Acea, piano; John Patton, organ; Butch Warren, Lloyd Trotman, bass; Billy Higgins, Willie Bobo, Ben Dixon, drums; Jual Curtis, tambourine
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach. I fell in love with it. I wondered around until the owner (Pedro Soto) asked if I needed help. He then introduced me to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan and the rest is history. I walked out of the store with my first jazz recording: Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street.