Grassella Oliphant / Grassella Oliphant Quartet

The Grass Is Greener

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Drummer Grassella Oliphant's The Grass Is Greener is as good as it is rare. One of many soulful organ jazz dates that have gained cult status among sample hungry hip-hop and acid jazz devotees, this 1967 Atlantic album is packed with great playing and solid grooves (besides recording only one other album as a leader, his 1965 debut The Grass Roots, Oliphant also appeared on dates by singer Gloria Lynne and organist Shirley Scott, among others). With guitarist Grant Green and B-3 master John Patton completing the classic organ combo setup, the trio particularly stretch out on fine numbers like "Cantaloupe Woman" and Patton's own "Soul Woman." While these cuts are marked by a progressive, almost modal sound, much of the other material, which also features tenor saxophonist Harold Ousley and trumpeter Clark Terry, has a more down home and groove-heavy flavor; this is especially true on Terry's "Peaches Are Better Down the Road" and a cover of Allen Toussaint's classic bit of New Orleans soul, "Get Out of My Life Woman." Other standouts include a rendition of Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar" and Ousley's breezy Latin swinger "The Latter Days." A great set.

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