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Though originally released by Blue Note, Brother Jack McDuff's '71 album Who Knows What Tomorrow's Gonna Bring? came after the venerable jazz label's glory days in hard bop and post bop. An album with far more funk and soul than swing and bop, this excellent first-time CD reissue by San Francisco-based Water finds McDuff's organ paired nicely with guitarist Joe Beck, trumpeters Randy Brecker and Olu Dara, trombonists Dick Griffin and John Pierson, vibraphonist Mike Mainieri, pianist Paul Griffin, bassists Tony Levin and Ray Draper, and drummer Donald McDonald.
The album's six selections are catchy, infectious, soulful things that seduce with groove and attitude. The title track kicks off the album with an acid-like, eerie sound montage that swells and soon dissolves into pure funky goodness. McDuff, always skilled in these settings, plays to excite and his intentions are reciprocated well by the entire band. On the Billy Preston-like "YA YA YA YA YA YA," the group uses a gospel feel to sway and hypnotize the listener.
Less trance-like tunes are found in the hustlin' swagger of "Who's Pimpin' Who?" and "Classic Funke." "Ya'll Remember Boogie" is an odd piece in this context, with its big band-like arrangement and straight-ahead flair; it's a great song, though seemingly out of place here. The closing number, the gentle, nearly disco-ish "Wank's Thang," also adds to the sometimes uneven, though always enjoyable mix of sounds and styles that make up Who Knows What Tomorrow's Gonna Bring?
Track Listing: Who Knows What Tomorrow's Gonna Bring?; YA YA YA YA YA YA; Who's Pimpin' Who;
Classic Funke; Ya'll Remember Boogie?; Wank's Thang.
Personnel: Brother Jack McDuff: organ; Joe Beck: electric guitar; Donald McDonalddrums; Tony Levin:
bass; Mike Mainieri: vibes; Ray Draper: persussion, bass, vocals, tuba, bass horn; Randy
Brecker, Olu Dara: trumpet; Dick Griffin, John Pierson: trombone; Paul Griffin: piano.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.