Gene Ammons

Legends of Acid Jazz: Gene Ammons

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As is often the case in this CD reissue series, the music has little to do with acid jazz, but it does feature a few organists. Tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons is heard on music that formerly comprised two complete LPs from 1970-1971 (The Black Cat and As You Talk That Talk), plus a pair of titles from a 1962 date only previously out on a sampler. The Black Cat is an interesting if erratic set that finds Ammons (along with guitarist George Freeman, Harold Mabern on electric piano, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Idris Muhammad) playing everything from the pop tune "Long Long Time" and George Harrison's "Something" (both of those tunes have unimaginative strings) to "Jug Eyes" and the boppish blues "Hi Ruth." As You Talk That Talk is a reunion with fellow tenor Sonny Stitt (they are joined by Freeman, Muhammad, and organist Leon Spencer), but it has a major problem. Stitt uses the electrified Varitone saxophone throughout the date, and his horn sounds even stranger than on his other Varitone dates, like a cross between an electric guitar and a dated keyboard; very eerie and odd. Ammons plays well enough (including on two throwaway numbers from 1962 with organist Don Patterson, guitarist Paul Weeden, and drummer Billy James), but overall, the music on this CD is dated and very much of the period. There are many more rewarding Gene Ammons reissues currently available.

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