Harold Ousley

Grit-Grittin' Feelin'

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Harold Ousley was never a big name in the jazz world, but his lack of recognition as a leader doesn't erase the fact that he's a decent player. Ousley had just turned 71 when, in January 2000, he recorded Grit-Gittin' Feelin', a competent, if unremarkable, hard bop outing that employs Jodie Christian on piano, John Whitfield on bass, and Robert Shy on drums. The title Grit-Gittin' Feelin' implies that this CD contains a lot of soul-jazz, it's the sort of title you would associate with a funky, gritty, down-home organ combo date by Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, or Jimmy McGriff. But for the most part, Grit-Gittin' Feelin' isn't soul-jazz. The title track, a catchy 12-bar blues number, is the closest this album gets to soul-jazz, most of the material (which ranges from "Canadian Sunset" and Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" to Ousley's own compositions) is straight-ahead 1950s-like hard bop. The most surprising thing on the album is a version of Donny Osmond's early '70s hit "Go Away, Little Girl," which Ousley gives an unlikely bop makeover. "Go Away, Little Girl" is the last song that one would expect a hard bopper to record, but then, no one expected Marlena Shaw to turn "Go Away, Little Girl" into a sassy soul number in 1977. Grit-Gittin' Feelin' isn't a masterpiece, but it's a decent album that underscores Delmark's willingness to document an underexposed jazzman.

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