Jack McDuff

A Change Is Gonna Come/Double Barrelled Soul

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It takes a bit of searching, but there are several soul-jazz gems on this 15-track compilation of organist Brother Jack McDuff's first and fourth releases on Atlantic. For much of 1966's A Change Is Gonna Come, the compact R&B instrumentals shuffle by, rarely building up enough steam to get the set cooking. The exceptions are the sextet performances with hard bopper George Coleman on tenor sax. Here the focus is on the blues, and the tracks get to stretch beyond the four-minute mark, giving them room to breathe. The slow burn of Red Holloway's "No Tears" and McDuff's "Can't Find the Keyhole Blues" feature the best playing on the date. 1968's Double Barrelled Soul co-stars reedman David Newman in a set that eventually serves up some serious soul-jazz, once it gets past a funky warm-up on "But It's Alright" and an uneventful cover of the ubiquitous "Sunny." Newman's "Duffin' Around" and "More Head," and his collaboration with McDuff, "Untitled Blues," are state of the art organ jazz that spotlight McDuff's clean, powerful technique and improvisational skills. Newman splits his time between sax and flute. In a number of spots, Newman, Leo Johnson and Danny Turner are heard together on flute for some effective ensemble work -- not something one expects on a date like this, but here it works. The classy rhythm guitar of the excellent Melvin Sparks effectively underpins the playing of the co-leaders.

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