Hank Crawford

The World of Hank Crawford

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Rather than stick completely with the down-home soul-jazz rituals that have served him well in his previous several releases, Crawford mixes up his pitches in this more-inclusively titled outing -- or he seems to. For once the semi-samba stylings and straight-ahead jazz solos of "Grab the World" and funky gospel flavor of the Crusaders tune "Way Back Home" are disposed of, and Crawford returns to the Mother Church, as it were, for the core of the disc. To cite two examples, Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday" is exactly what you might expect from this soulmeister: slow and soulful, with organ swimming underneath the bluesy alto sax wailings and overdubbed gospel piano. "Sonnymoon for Two" gets right down to the bedrock soul-jazz groove on the blues. Then, two cuts from the end, Tadd Dameron's "Good Bait" and "Star Eyes," take us back to Crawford's bop side. Melvin Sparks gets a lot of solo space with his soulful urban guitar, Danny Mixon takes care of business on both piano and organ, spelling out the bass on the pedals when bassist Stanley Banks sits out, and Kenny Washington is on drums. Marcus Belgrave (trumpet) and Ronnie Cuber (baritone saxophone) form a new front line on the stylistically varied outer tracks. Nice change of pace, though not that big of a change for this soulful veteran.

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