Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Lou Donaldson - Here 'Tis (Blue Note 1961, 2008)

During the early 1960's, alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson made the transition from a bebop specialist and follower of Charlie Parker to a blues, R&B and boogaloo specialist. This is a fine example of the transition, with Donaldson given the opportunity to indulge in all of the music he loved, bebop, ballads and blues in the fine company of Grant Green on guitar (a Donaldson discovery, who would go on to have a very productive career as a Blue Note recording artist himself), Baby Face Willette on organ and Dave Bailey on drums. "A Foggy Day" leads off with a mid tempo organ groove, and tart and citrus alto. Grant Green's guitar is brittle but swinging and cleanly articulated. Willette gets some grinding organ with pneumatic pumping bass pedals. "Here 'Tis" is a slower groover with solid ballad sax playing and an interesting guitar solo. "Cool Blues" is joyfully up-tempo with pumping organ prodding the guitar solo and keeps it moving before moving into its own groovy interlude. "Watusi Jump" has a pumping and grinding boogoloo feel. This is an enjoyable album of soul jazz, sure to please fans of the bluesy organ groove.

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