Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Don Wilkerson – Preach Brother! (Blue Note, 1962)

By the early 1960's Blue Note was in the middle of their most diverse period, releasing records by avant-garde musicians like Cecil Taylor and Andrew Hill. But they also stayed true to the "grits and gravy"soul jazz that had been so successful for them in the past. This is one of their greasiest sessions – Wilkerson was a Louisiana native who played a deep honking tenor saxophone and here he's joined by Sonny Clark on piano, and Grant Green who adds some wonderful accents on guitar. Billy Higgins and Butch Warren round out the rhythm section.

The group cuts a stomping bluesy groove on all of the tracks with the piano, bass and drums laying down a solid foundation and allowing Wilkerson and Green to act as the primary soloists. Green in particular has a technique that he has used on several records, repeating a note or phrase several times in order to build up tension and then releasing it in a flurry of notes. Wilkerson is there with him step for step even putting in a few well placed vocals to keep the joint jumpin'. So if you like easy going soul-jazz, this is definately a record to keep an eye out for. It looks to have been out of print for a while although Blue Note may have released a collection of some of his material.

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