On this 1973 date, organist Don Patterson and guitarist Pat Martino again show themselves to be equally at home with gritty, organ combo sounds and the more refined vocabulary of hard bop. Brothers Jimmy Heath (tenor sax) and Albert Heath (drums) round out the band. They are bop-oriented players who also have an affinity for the Patterson and Martino blend of brains and barbecue sauce. The quartet comes together nicely on all five tracks, beginning with the long, melodic line of Cal Massey's mid-tempo title track and winding up with the slow-cooking, 18-minute "Muse Blues." As for the group's cover of "Whistle While You Work," Patterson, Martino, and the Heaths transform the Disney ditty into a solid, straight-ahead, swinger, with intelligent solo work and without a speck of corn. Patterson's pianistic approach and sparing use of bass pedals creates lots of space for his bandmates. Martino, who is known for his fleet, single-note solo work spends considerable time playing behind the soloists on this set, demonstrating what a staggeringly accomplished accompanist he can be. Heath draws on his history with Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, and Art Farmer, and as a leader in his own right, to build tenor solos that have force, logic, and passion. These Are Soulful Days is easily recommendable to fans of classic organ, guitar, sax combos, as well as to listeners who simply enjoy the playing of top-flight jazz musicians who have a healthy respect for the music's blues roots.
AllMusic Review by Jim Todd