A retitled compilation of two of Jack McDuff's live albums from the '60s, Brother Jack McDuff Live! is an outstanding album, one of the purest examples ever of quite possibly the finest Hammond B3 organ player in the world. These recordings were made with McDuff's classic lineup: Red Holloway on tenor sax and flute, Joe Dukes on drums, and a young George Benson (long before he became a star making formulaic soul-pop albums in the '70s) on guitar. This lineup is arguably the pinnacle of the often-misunderstood subgenre of soul-jazz, capable of mixing funky Booker T. & the MG's-style grooves with rippling, exploratory solos. Benson and Holloway (and Harold Vick, who sits in on a few tunes on tenor and flute) all get off some sweet solos, but McDuff is firmly in control of the set all the way. His organ playing can seem almost clichéd to the soul-jazz novice, until one realizes that these riffs became soul-jazz clichés because so many lesser players immediately copped his licks. Here, one can hear them from the source, and it's an eye-opening experience.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason