Jack McDuff

The Best of the Concord Years

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Hammond B-3 organist Jack McDuff spent his last decade recording for the Concord Jazz label, and for the most part his albums during this time period lacked the verve and fire of his earlier work, and he seemed, at times, to be going through the motions. The two-disc Best of the Concord Years anthology changes that perception a bit, since by picking some of the best tracks from the individual albums, the end result is a collection that is both more varied and energetic than its original sources, and McDuff emerges as a vital performer to the end. Among the highlights are the slow-building "Killer Joe," a moving take on Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia," the classic soul jazz vamp of "Pettin' the Cat," and a pair of weary, emotionally fulfilling blues duets with pianist Gene Harris, "J and G Blues" and "Down Home Blues." Grady Tate, George Benson, Joey DeFrancesco, Red Holloway, and Pat Martino also take guest turns on selections here. The Best of the Concord Years ends up being just that, the best way to sample McDuff's final years, and culled this way, it is work that stands up admirably to his impressive earlier material.

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