Gene Ammons

Soul Summit, Vol. 2

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Some of the first records Prestige released after Gene Ammons' incarceration were Soul Summit and Soul Summit, Vol. 2, two albums whose slapdash nature was partially hidden by their presentation as all-star jam sessions. The tunes, recorded in four sessions in 1961 and 1962, are a widely varied lot in terms of material, arrangements, and accompanists. Sonny Stitt and Jack McDuff, regular Ammons sparring partners, both appear several times, although contrary to the album's slightly misleading packaging, rarely at the same time. Side one covers four relatively brief tracks (including a marvelous Etta Jones vocal on "But Not for Me"), but side two features two extended workouts, the organ-driven Latin-tinged groove "Scram" and a lovely saxophone and organ duet for Ammons and McDuff called "Ballad for Baby" that features some of the organist's most controlled and subtle work. Like most of the Prestige albums of this period, Soul Summit, Vol. 2 is uneven, but it contains enough gems to make it worthwhile.

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