Hank Crawford / Jimmy McGriff

Road Tested

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Jimmy McGriff continued on a high roll on his second tour with Milestone, taping another dual-billed soul-jazz album with the redoubtable Hank Crawford. You know what to expect by now -- hardass, down-home, blues-drenched organ trio-plus-sax grooving -- but this is a really potent gusher of that genre, rising to the level of McGriff's idiom-defining The Dream Team from 1996. Throughout, Crawford produces some sterling roadhouse tenor work and guitarist Wayne Boyd stays resolutely in the pocket. Drummer Bernard Purdie stokes the engines from the opening crack of the funky "Peanuts," and contributes to a refreshingly kicking transformation of "I Only Have Eyes for You," and lays on a devastating backbeat whenever asked. John Coltrane's minor blues "Mr. P.C." also responds well to the soul-jazz treatment. Recorded the old-fashioned Prestige way -- in two sessions, with Bob Porter producing in Rudy Van Gelder's studio -- it's amazing and gratifying that bluesicians are still allowed to make records this way.

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