Stix Hooper

Lay It on the Line

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Not surprisingly, Lay It on the Line often brings to mind Stix Hooper's work with the Crusaders -- the jazz/funk/soul powerhouse he spent more than a few years with. Very much a mixed bag, this CD ranges from the decent to the worthless. There are some definite throwaways here, including a boring cover of the Gladys Knight and Marvin Gaye hit "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and a Najee-ish muzak version of the Stylistics' "You Make Me Feel Brand New." The groovin' "Zanzibar" and the gritty "I Can't Get Enough of Your Love" are enjoyable enough, but hardly compare to the type of jazz/funk gems he played with the Crusaders. For a much better illustration of Hooper's talents as a drummer, there are many Crusaders albums (both acoustic post-bop in the 1960s and electric jazz-funk in the '70s) that would be much wiser investments.

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