Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Dennis Coffey - One Night At Morey’s 1968 (Omnivore Recordings, 2018)

Guitarist Dennis Coffey was a very busy session musician during the late 1960's but he still took time out to perform in an improvised jam session at Morey Baker’s Showplace Lounge in Detroit with organist Lyman Woodard and drummer Melvin Davis. They actually performed under Woodard's name, but the guitarist gets the top billing here as he did on last years fine release Hot Coffey In The D. This is an intimate club performance, with the groove front and center, beginning with "I'm a Midnight Mover" which has a very crisp drumbeat in addition to swelling Hammond B3 organ and shards of choppy electric guitar. Their version of The Beatles "Eleanor Rigby" is a highlight of the album, as they jump right into their improvisation with the melody not surfacing until three minutes into the performance. The trio takes this well known composition into interesting and unexpected territory, carrying on their improvisation for over thirteen minutes. The Meters' "Cissy Strut" is the perfect kind of track for musicians associated with The Funk Brothers, and they take the New Orleans beat in stride, creating a solid rhythmic foundation and leaving plenty of room for Coffey to stretch out with some snarling, gnarly guitar lines. "Burning Spear" finds them branching out to the thirteen minute mark again, allowing the alluring and insistent organ groove to carry the music along in a fluid fashion, with Coffey popping up to spray sharp bursts of hot guitar notes at anything in their path. Effects laden and over driven guitar marks "It's Your Thing/Union Station" with a raucous and dirty sensation that meets wailing organ and a strong beat to excellent effect, getting even wilder on the appropriately titled "Mindbender" where showers of psychedelic organ take the music on a shape-shifting journey, soon matched by Coffey's blues based electric guitar solo, which rocks ferociously. The group wraps up this fine album with a surprise, a quick run through of the Charlie Parker bebop classic "Billie's Bounce" proving their jazz chops in grand fashion with an insightful Jimmy Smith / Grant Green type of groove. One Night At Moreys 1968 -

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