Lou Donaldson

Signifyin'

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This 1963 date by Lou Donaldson was his first for Argo/Cadet. It followed hot on the heels of two organ jazz dates for Blue Note, Here 'Tis and Natural Soul. Like those previous sessions, Donaldson has a band that can cook whatever meat he gives them -- John Patton, organ; Tommy Turrentine, trumpet; Ben Dixon, drums. Whether swinging on the soulful side of hard bop on Donaldson's own composition "Si Si Safronia" (with a steamy Latin beat played by Patton in chord comps), playing a straight-ahead greasy soul steamer such as the title track that opens the record, or offering up a funkified swinging version of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," the band keeps the beats tight, full of deep backbeat funk and raw soul. The finest moment, however, is on the eight-plus minute "Coppin' a Plea," which is all rough and ready blues with fuzzy overtones and Patton playing one of his finest solos of the period criss-crossing chunky chords and right-hand lines while double-timing Dixon. No matter how you add it up, the only complaint about these six tracks that can justifiably be mustered is that there weren't more.

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