Thursday, July 17, 2008

John Patton – Soul Connection (Just A Memory/Justin Time 1983, 2008)

“Big” John Patton never quite achieved the fame of fellow organists Jimmy Smith or Brother Jack McDuff, but he was a potent and soulful force on the instrument in the 1960’s, cutting some well received albums for Blue Note before drifting into the life of a journeyman. This album finds Patton leading a mid-size ensemble with Grachan Moncur III on trombone, Grant Reed on tenor sax, Melvin Sparks on guitar and Alvin Queen on drums. The group gives five strong performances of blues, boogaloo and ballads. The opening title track “Soul Connection” is taken at medium up tempo with Patton’s bubbling organ backing a horn fanfare. This introduction gives way to a groovin’ section of organ, guitar and drums, and a burning tenor saxophone solo. “Extensions” is another noteworthy performance, with Sparks taking a extended Grant Green like guitar solo, and Reed’s tenor sounding taught and strong with a steely tone. Patton is the anchor for it all, riding the bass pedals like a tap dancer and working the Hammond B-3 organ like a bellows. Fans of the classic organ jazz sound will find a lot to enjoy on this long lost LP.

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