Jimmy McGriff

Feelin' It

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Some older jazzmen like to feature a lot of young unknowns -- they figure that because someone gave them a break when they were young, they should do the same thing now that they're well established. While that is admirable, there is also something to be said for surrounding yourself with people who have proven track records in your field. Jimmy McGriff's field is soul-jazz/hard bop, and most of the people he employs on Feelin' It have strong credentials in that area -- including guitarist Melvin Sparks and saxmen David "Fathead" Newman, Ronnie Cuber, and Bill Easley. The producer, Bob Porter, has worked with countless soul-jazz artists, while Rudy Van Gelder is bop's most famous engineer of all time. One greets Feelin' It with high expectations, and McGriff doesn't let the listener down. Nothing groundbreaking occurs, but the organist and his sidemen bring a lot of enthusiasm to material that includes Miles Davis' "All Blues," Stanley Turrentine's "Stan's Shuffle," and Paul Mitchell's "Hard Times" (which Newman defined back in 1958). Equally rewarding is McGriff's interpretation of the standard "Just in Time," which gets a laid-back bossa nova makeover. "Just in Time" is the album's most surprising track but, on the whole, the word "surprising" doesn't describe Feelin' It. McGriff was 64 when this CD was recorded in 2000 and, at that age, he wasn't trying to reinvent the wheel. But his fans expected him to provide soul-jazz/hard bop that was solid and consistent; Feelin' It definitely fits that description.

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