Big John Patton

Memphis to New York Spirit

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AllMusic Review by

Although it was scheduled for release two times, Memphis to New York Spirit didn't appear until 1996, over 25 years after it was recorded. The album comprises the contents of two separate sessions -- one recorded in 1970 with guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer, drummer Leroy Williams and saxophonist/flautist Marvin Cabell; the other recorded in 1969 with Cabell, Williams, and saxophonist George Coleman -- that were very similiar in concept and execution. Patton leads his combo through a selection of originals and covers that range from Wayne Shorter and McCoy Tyner to the Meters. Though the group is rooted in soul-jazz, they stretch the limits of the genre on these sessions, showing a willingness to experiment, while still dipping into the more traditional blues and funk reserves. Consequently, Memphis to New York Spirit doesn't have a consistent groove like some other Patton records, but when it does click, the results are remarkable; it's worthy addition to a funky soul-jazz collection.

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