A CD reissue that combines Jones' fifth and sixth Prestige LPs, Noway! (1970) and What It Is (1971), onto one disc. Grover Washington, Jr. (tenor sax) and Bernard Purdie (drums) are the key accompanists on both sessions. Noway! is a set of pretty funky early-1970s soul-jazz, though the covers of fairly straight pop numbers ("Georgia on My Mind," the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There") are kind of undistinguished. Better are the originals "No Way" and "Holdin' Back" (by Jones) and "Sunshine Alley" (by organist Butch Cornell), which have a more convincing groove. "No Way" is the toughest, with funk guitar lines betraying some influence from James Brown; "Holdin' Back" sounds a bit like a jazzy instrumental treatment of the kind of songs Marvin Gaye used to record in his early Motown days. Using the same personnel, Jones offers more good-natured funk-soul-jazz on What It Is. After getting a couple of contemporary pop covers (of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move") out of the way, it's mostly Jones originals. On his slower moments, as in "Fadin'" and Sonny Thompson's "Let Them Talk," he shows the influence of straight jazz players such as Wes Montgomery; "What It Is" and "Inside Job" are more cut-to-the-chase funk riffs. Jones has his cult following, but as soul-jazz goes, this is kind of run-of-the-mill: good for background, but not captivating foreground listening.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger