Hank Crawford

Crunch Time

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Over at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Jersey during the '90s, it was just like 1969 with soul-jazz sessions bursting forth at a more leisurely yet no less insistent clip. This could only mean that Hank Crawford and co-billed leader Jimmy McGriff were at it again, playing off the Bernard Purdie shuffle on the first two tracks, and cruising through ballads, blues, and cover tunes with the assurance of those who had the genre in their bloodstream. A high point is Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," as Crawford has the soul and restraint to make a fresh case for a slightly over-recorded contemporary tune. The instantly identifiable Cornell Dupree and mellower Melvin Sparks divide up the guitar parts, taking four tracks apiece, equally unflappable in solos and on rhythm. Not much is new here -- which may be precisely the point of the exercise -- and while these sessions do not quite rise to the truckin' heights of some other McGriff Milestone discs from this period, there is still plenty to groove to in these tracks. Bob Porter produced it -- as you knew he did.

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