Don Patterson / Sonny Stitt

The Boss Men

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In another of those two-fers that are going to tangle discographies for some time to come, this bears the title of a Don Patterson album, The Boss Men, and includes all of the material from that LP. However, this CD, though it's also called The Boss Men, is billed to both Sonny Stitt and Don Patterson, and combines the original Patterson The Boss Men LP with another album cut in 1965, Night Crawler, that was billed to Sonny Stitt, although it featured the exact same lineup (Stitt on alto sax, Patterson on organ, Billy James on drums) as The Boss Men. Not only that, the CD adds two cuts from a Patterson 1964 LP, Patterson's People, also featuring the Stitt-Patterson-James trio. As for the original The Boss Men, it's a respectable straight-ahead jazz-with-organ session. It's also very similar to so many other Prestige dates from the mid-'60s -- not to mention the other dates with featured the exact same three players as this LP does -- that it challenges the reviewer to come up with anything new, fresh, and exciting to say about the music. It's an even-tempered mix of up-tempo tunes and more meditative ones, the only original being Patterson's "Big C's Rock," which is far by the bluesiest and most riff-driven tune of the bunch. Night Crawler is a standard Stitt Prestige session (not to say a standard mid-'60s Prestige jazz session) that's not so much soul-jazz as solid, unexceptional straight-ahead boppish jazz with organ (just two of the six numbers are Stitt originals). He swings pretty hard on the opener, "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm," in which Patterson takes his own solo, with a skittering intensity that makes it the highlight of the LP. The soul-blues element comes more to the fore on the title track, with its syncopated beat; a bit of Afro-Cuban tempo sneaks into "Star Eyes"; and the interpretation of the pop standard "Who Can I Turn To?" is the lone slowie.

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