Rusty Bryant

Legends of Acid Jazz, Vol. 2

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A single-CD reissue that combines two 1971 albums, Fire-Eater and Wildfire. Fire-Eater is just four long cuts, all between seven and ten minutes in length, on a session that has Bryant stretching out his meaty tone and improvisations a bit further than usual. This is respectable soul-jazz with a lot of funk, but no fusion, employing the tenor sax-organ-guitar-drums lineup. All of the material was written by Bryant or members of the quartet, and favors a laid-back groove that's on the slow side, except for "Mister S.," on which guitarist Wilbert Longmire has a particularly engaging solo. Wildfire is dependable, if rather predictable, early-'70s soul-jazz from Bryant, on one of the several sessions from the era that benefited from the forceful groove of drummer Idris Muhammad. It's the kind of music that network television used to employ at the time as background on film clips summarizing the week's pro basketball highlights -- not a mocking criticism, just an observation. There are a couple of originals penned by Bryant and organist Bill Mason, but most of the album is given over to rock, soul, and pop covers, including an unlikely jaunty reading of the Doors' "Riders on the Storm." On Stevie Wonder's "If You Really Love Me," Bryant takes off into some pretty impressive improv flights.

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