The 3 Sounds


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The Three Sounds' return to Blue Note wasn't a celebrated event -- no exact date even exists for these sessions, although in all likelihood it was recorded somewhere in October 1966. Even if the event was poorly documented, it was fairly important for the label, because it signaled that they were backing away from the adventurous hard bop and free jazz they had been recording, and were considering concentrating on the commercially oriented, mainstream soul-jazz the Three Sounds pioneered. Since Vibrations was recorded in 1965, not 1959, there were differences in the trio's approach. Pianist Gene Harris tried organ on a few tracks, and the group tackled contemporary R&B hits ("Let's Go Get Stoned," "Fever," "Yeh Yeh") as well as MOR pop ("It Was a Very Good Year"). The subtle tweaking makes no real difference in the group's sound, since on previous records they took the same approach (only without an organ), but Vibrations doesn't make the first rank of Three Sounds records because the performances are a little stiff, and the infrequent organ sounds a little awkward. There are certainly plenty of good things here -- and there are more good than bad things -- but Vibrations primarily offers the kind of pleasures that are only meaningful to dedicated fans.

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