Jack McDuff: The Concert McDuff

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Despite the drab classicism its title might imply this disc delivers a set of music that’s a distant departure from run-of-the-mill repertory .pap. Jack McDuff might’ve been given the moniker of Hardest “Working Man on the Touring Circuit” if a certain Detroit Soul Man hadn’t donned it first. He was certainly deserving given the grueling touring schedule he subjected himself to during the late Fifties. All the hard work and living finally started to pay dividends in the Sixties and McDuff’s star rightfully rose to the legendary status it occupies today. Performances like the ones captured in this collection are part of the reason why.

The program is an amalgam of mostly live recordings culled from dates at the Front Room and the Golden Circle, now defunct venues that were hotbeds for jazz in their respective heydays. Also appended to the set is a stray track from a Van Gelder recording session from several years later that features Pat Martino, guitarist George Benson’s replacement in the band. Cycling off a joyous blues riff on the opener the four players set about smoldering from the start, with Benson in particular in a solo suffused with a surprising countrified twang. There’s some odd phase shifting that sounds as if the engineer was setting his dials mid-stream, but the burning intensity of the band bleeds through famously just the same. Dukes keeps solid time throughout, adding the accentuating press roll or rim shot in the boisterous style that was his custom, while Holloway celebrates his role as second soloist behind the leader, rolling out easy, but emphatic lines that never stray to far from the blues-infused themes.

Several unexpected choices crop up in the set list including a weird reading of “The Girl from Ipanema” that elicits riotous applause from an appreciative Swedish audience. McDuff strolls through the familiar melody with his keys locked in full roller-rink mode as Benson strums lilting chords beside him and Dukes keeps the percolating samba beat. Jimmy Giuffre’s famously fast blower “Four Brothers” also seems something of an odd match, but the band digs in and recasts it as viable soul-jazz fodder without loosing any of its signature speed. Fans of McDuff who don’t already own the vinyl copies from which these tracks are sprung would do well to seek this set out.

Prestige on the web: http://www.fantasyjazz.com

Track Listing: Undecided (alternate)/ Love Walked In/ Midnight Sun/ Swedenin

Personnel: Jack McDuff- organ; Red Holloway- tenor saxophone; George Benson- guitar; Pat Martino- guitar*; Joe Dukes- drums. Recorded: June 5, 1963, Newark, NJ, July 1964, Stockholm and late 1965 or early 1966, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Prestige Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Kenny Burrell Kenny Burrell
George Benson George Benson
Jimmy Smith Jimmy Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Grant Green Grant Green
Dr. Lonnie Smith Dr. Lonnie Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Lou Donaldson Lou Donaldson
Jimmy McGriff Jimmy McGriff
organ, Hammond B3
Charles Earland Charles Earland
organ, Hammond B3
Joey DeFrancesco Joey DeFrancesco
organ, Hammond B3
Donald Byrd Donald Byrd
Richard "Groove" Holmes Richard "Groove" Holmes
organ, Hammond B3
Big John Patton Big John Patton
organ, Hammond B3

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Countdown" CD/LP/Track Review Countdown
by Doug Collette
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "El Toro" CD/LP/Track Review El Toro
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Once Upon A Time In Portugal" CD/LP/Track Review Once Upon A Time In Portugal
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 30, 2016
Read "OWT" CD/LP/Track Review OWT
by John Sharpe
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "The Evolution Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Evolution Suite
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "Vit" CD/LP/Track Review Vit
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 7, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!