Hank Crawford

Soul Clinic/Blues Shout

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The labels "soul" and "blues" don't exactly tell the story on this reissue of a 1960 session by saxophonist/flutist Leo Wright and a 1961 date by alto player Hank Crawford. The Crawford set is actually a pleasant, Kansas City-influenced swing date, while Wright's is, essentially, a session for bop quintet. Crawford's serviceable arrangements on Soul Clinic are Basie-style via Quincy Jones. There are a number of good moments when the music strips down to just soloist and rhythm. Elsewhere, though, the horns and boom-chick rhythm format gets thin and in need of the connecting tissue a guitar or piano could supply. Not surprisingly for a Crawford date, the best piece is the bluesiest: Crawford's "Blue Stone," where the leader gets a chance to briefly unleash his bebopper chops. Blues Shout benefits from the strong, supple rhythm section of drummer Charlie Persip, bassist Art Davis, and pianist Junior Mance, all of whom, along with Wright, had seen service with Dizzy Gillespie. Four tracks feature Wright on flute with violinist Harry Lookofsky, a player with boundless technique and a highly developed, personal sound. On the standard "Angel Eyes," Wright and Lookofsky combine for a finger-popping, cool-blues treatment of a tune that is usually handled as a smouldering ballad. On the remaining tracks, the leader, on alto now, is paired with the excellent, Gillespie-influenced Richard Williams on trumpet. The highlight is a crisp, energetic romp on "Night In Tunisia," very much in the style of "Bird" and "Diz."

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