Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Jug in good company
Evan Chandlee | Paris, France | 06/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gene Ammons is in fabulous form at this session. His soulful phrasing and rich sound are featured to best advantage against the sparse chords of Mal Waldron, with Doug Watkins reeling out gorgeous bass lines and Art Taylor driving with discreet muscle. A.T.'s fills and transitions from one 8-measure group and solo to another are very tasty. Ammons' tenor sermons are followed by attractive contrasts between fiery solos by Jackie McLean and Kenny Burrell and more measured, melodic contributions from Waldron and the poetic Art Farmer. Ammons' well-separated phrases seem to be drawn from some kind of well of ultimate tenor funkiness, and clearly inspire the other players, notably in sometimes amusing 4-bar exchanges. The themes are simple riff-type tunes for the 3-horn front line, but A.T. gives them an extra charge before "Jug" sails off majestically.
Equally rewarding for detailed listening - Ammons had great dynamics - and dancing around the living room."
There's nothing off-hand about the brilliance in these groov
Matthew Watters | Vietnam | 02/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The extended solos on Funky by Gene Ammons, Kenny Burrell, Jackie McLean, and Art Farmer - each among the all-time greats on their axes, each with their own very recognizable tones - are so melodic and creative that I have practically memorized them. Ammons in particular creates solos that sound like little songs in their own right. Sometimes I find myself humming snatches of them days later. So, it's really a shame that these Prestige Records "blowing sessions" of the 1950s are so often dismissed as being unrehearsed, spontaneous and somehow without artistic merit. How could you have ears and think that? On the title tune of Funky, for instance, you get a simple, riff-based head that is then repeated in a tight harmony by the horn ensemble before Ammons launches into his song-like solo. Thereafter, each soloist can be heard deliberately taking a phrase from the previous soloist to launch his own, almost as if each is completing the others' musical thoughts. Burrell picks up and finishes Ammons musical sentence, before McLean later picks up a motive from Burrell. When pianist Mal Waldron enters, he goes all the way back to the opening phrase of Art Farmer's solo. It's marvelously sustained. Everybody's listening to everybody and actively creating a single, cohesive musical statement. On the two Jimmy Mundy-arranged tunes, Mundy also keeps everyone on their toes by making all four lead soloists share a single bridge or exchanging fours in unpredictable pairs. And then there's "Stella By Starlight," on which Ammons turns in what may be the definitive ballad exposition of this standard before everyone solos during a double-time section. Throughout, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor create a hazy, nighttime groove that makes this album a great record to chill out to. (Taylor only picks things up a bit on the final track.) Despite the "hi-fi jam session" marketing spiel on the otherwise super-cool album cover, Funky deserves to be recognised as one of the most memorable albums of the 1950s."
Funky in all kinds of sizes
Bomojaz | South Central PA, USA | 02/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is another blowing session featuring Gene with some of the best young (at the time) hard-bop players in New York. "Funky" is a medium-slow blues, while "King Size" is taken medium-up and swings hard. The tunes really stretch out and everyone gets ample solo space. A solid date."