Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Grant Green - Retrospective (Blue Note, 2002)

Guitarist Grant Green was a workhorse for Blue Note records during a couple of tenures on the label. Introduced to the Blue Note scene through Lou Donaldson, Green quickly became a valued sideman and leader on many records, according to Wikipedia, From 1961 to 1965, he made more appearances on Blue Note albums, as leader or sideman, than any other musician. He left the label for a four year sabbatical, during which he recorded for other labels and battled addiction, he returned to Blue Note with a soul based funk sound from 1969 - 1972. The music on this collection is skewed toward Green's first tenure on the label, when he is considered to have made his best music. One disc of the collection presents Green in the company of organists which places him in a fine light. Whether playing with the likes of a progressive organist like Larry Young or a grits and gravy groover like Bother Jack McDuff, Green reveled in the sound of the Hammond B3. He was far from a one dimensional soul jazz musician, as showed by the intricate playing on "Django" with the vibes of Bobby Hutcherson and tenor saxophone of Joe Henderson. Fascinating musical explorations like "Talkin' About J.C." with Larry Young and Elvin Jones are faultless in their subtlety. The set is anchored by some great playing on blues and standards, and to hear Green and Art Blakey lock in and stretch out on George Gershwin's "It Ain't Necessarily So" is a joy to hear. This is a well rounded look at Grant Green's early career on Blue Note. Whether playing blues, bop or ballads he was an unflappable addition to any band and an inspiration to guitarists everywhere. Retrospective -

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