Brother Jack

Jack McDuff

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Brother Jack Review

by Jim Todd

This was Jack McDuff's first release as a leader. Recorded in 1960, the session is a transitional one, both for jazz organ and for one of the instrument's leading players. With its occasional evocation of roller rinks and calliopes, the set recalls the preceding generation of organists, notably Count Basie, Milt Buckner, Bill Doggett, and Wild Bill Davis. But it also looks ahead to the full-throttled roar of the classic organ combos of the 1960s. McDuff's style emerges as a hybrid of both. The music is split between hard-charging soul-jazz and swinging pieces more reminiscent of McDuff's predecessors. Guitarist Bill Jennings, who, like McDuff, was a member of tenor saxophonist Willis Jackson's group at the time of this recording, is a key player here. He comes from the earlier generation of organ combos, having played with both Doggett and Wild Bill Davis. His unabashedly twangy sound, an appealing blend of Chet Atkins' Nashville, Texas, swing and southside Chicago, is featured prominently to good effect throughout.

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