Soul-jazz and Hammond B3 pioneer Jimmy McGriff made the Groove Merchant record label his home base for the better part of the 1970s, releasing the often overlooked Fly Dude in 1972. This is McGriff at his most varied. Working with Ronald Arnold on tenor saxophone, George Freeman and John Thomas on guitars, and Marion Booker Jr. on drums, McGriff tackles a Jimmy Smith tune ("Jumping the Blues"), a Memphis Slim classic ("Everyday I Have the Blues"), and a bop touchstone by sax great Charlie Parker ("Yardbird Suite"). The most interesting tracks, however, are McGriff originals, including a churchy blues called "Cotton Boy Blues" and two proto-funk pieces, "The Groove Fly" and "Butterfly." With Freeman and Arnold trading off lead lines with McGriff, Fly Dude has an ever-shifting perspective, and more than enough groove to keep everything sharp, all with a firm blues base. This CD reissue is from Japan's P-Vine label, and as always, they know quality when they hear it.
Fly Dude Review
by Steve Leggett