Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Keep on a Blowin
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Willis "Gator" Jackson's powerhouse tenor saxophone was one of the essential sounds in American music of the '50s, wailing on numerous R&B recordings including those of his wife, singer Ruth Brown. Along with Gene Ammons a... more »
Willis "Gator" Jackson's powerhouse tenor saxophone was one of the essential sounds in American music of the '50s, wailing on numerous R&B recordings including those of his wife, singer Ruth Brown. Along with Gene Ammons and Sam "the Man" Taylor, he was at the forefront of a generation of big-toned, hard-driving tenor players, "honkers" and "bar walkers" whose ferocious energy bridged the worlds of big-band swing, small-group jazz, and early rock & roll. This CD combines two Prestige LPs recorded between 1959 and 1962, and it places Jackson at the heart of the soul-jazz movement. He could take a subtle approach, reminiscent of Coleman Hawkins's, to a ballad like "How Deep Is the Ocean," but the music is more often spirited, playful, and ebullient. "The Man I Love" is a tightly arranged collection of riffs and phrases with enough interpolations--including "American in Paris" and "Lullaby of Birdland"--to suggest sampling, while "Keep on a Blowin'" has infectious call and response between the leader's horn and the chanting band. Jackson's regular associates, including organists Jack McDuff and Freddie Roach, guitarist Bill Jennings, and conguero Ray Barretto, provide solid backup for some elemental music. --Stuart Broomer
Cool Gator ! ! !
Eddie Landsberg | Tokyo, Japan | 11/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ughghghghghgh.... so it looks like this one too is back out of print !!! Folks, band together, write the label - - let them know that the DEMAND *is* there... trust me... I've never been in a room where I didn't spin some Willis and the SAME people who dug Lou and Sonny didn't cream for the gator... and no doubt, the same people who are still so loyal to Gene Ammons, Stanley Turrentine and Sonny Stitt woul definitely buy each and every Willis Jackson album available IF they had the chance to discover him... and here perhaps is the problem: Unlike Lou's albums that pretty much sell themselves, Willis probably needs to be marketed... and the truth is once you get into marketing and advertising, even an album that might sell out a basic pressing of 1000-3000 is going to represent a major loss of money to the label... ergo WILLIS JACKSON is victim #1 of the Darwinian economics... however, I say one thing: Take a listen to this tastily and answer me the question: even in this mean old world, shouldn't things like "truth" and "beauty" prevail...?
The album incidentally includes Jack McDuff (definitely a protege of Willis) and Wild Bill Jennings, one of the forgotten godfather's of modern Jazz guitar... later on (as in on future recordings) Pat Martino would replace Bill Jennins, and a great organists (who'd never really get his props) Carl Wilson would replace brother Jack. - - Boogaloo Joe would also be a key member of Willis's later ensembles.
As you'll listen to Willis, you'll hear a slightly "cooler" incarnation of the Gator, once famous for his overtop showmanship... On this one, he's definitely "up on it", but you'll hear a much more thoughtful and refined side to him demonstrating the fact that beyond all the smoke and fire was indeed a true artist and genius...
As to the decision of the label to put this one out in their "Legends of Acid Jazz" series, clever marketing at the time perhaps, however, I'm sure some acid Jazzers were disappointed as it is really COOL SWING not FUNKY SOUL JAZZ... organ/tenor combo fans (actually tenor fans in general) in contrast who haven't heard this yet may very well wet their pants.
In conclusion, there are definitely other Willis Jackson albums I'd rather see re-issued (especially the one's with Carl Wilson walking his mean LH bass and Martino cookin' out) - - check out their arrangement of SECRET LOVE if you can find it anywhere... but all in all, this album is a delight to listen to any time!"