A majorly groovy Lou Donaldson/Grant Green school cooker (mi
Eddie Landsberg | Tokyo, Japan | 07/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Baby Face Willette may not be a name well known outside Jazz organ maniac circles, but if you are a true '60s Blue Note era groove organ ensemble fan, this album is something to wet your pants over... Featuring Ben Dixon and Grant Green (the remainder of Lou Donaldson's earliest organ combo), Face's style is quite interesting... His basslines cook, his sound is dark and groovy, yet his chops at times remind you of Groove Holmes. (Needless to say he was a stone cold Jimmy Smith disciple, yet had his own thing going.)
A major highlight of this album is WILLOW WEEP FOR ME, a tune that be'dozens of people have recorded be'dozens of times over and over... yet I really do believe this version stands out in terms of the way it swings and is so groovy at the same time... His bass line is really smooth and happening... the solo starts off quite cool and preachy and he's in no hurry to get anywhere, yet if you keep your ear pinned to the speaker, you'll hear him pull out some really clever tricks and runs when you least expect it. - - Grant Green is... well... unmistakably Grant... and Ben Dixon plays in his distinct "Blakey in the pocket" style (his style is 100% Blakey school, but its adapted in a way that has a sensibility that only the deepest Jazz organ combo enthusiast could ever imagine. - - Put together, the level of comfort that these guys obviously had playing together took the session to a level that you can't just get by having "chops" and "talent"... there's a potent "cool" and "blue" chemistry going on hear, of which replication of is quite rare! - - 12 bar blues aside, another thing I like about this album is Face's ability to take very "straight from the book" standards, present them sensibly - - yet in a way that's so ridiculously cool, bluesy and seemingly effortless... at the same time, another treat is CHANCES ARE FEW... Face could cook on the toe tapping tempo blues, no doubt, however, hearing him play slow blues on any of albums is worse the purpose... he preaches, you can smell the grit, taste the whiskey and feel the sweat... Dixon carries the pocket and Grant definitely gets plenty 'a good word in!
All in all, there are great albums and there are great albums... this is one you can listen to over and over and over again... hence the title is aptly put... you may have missed it, but having come across it now, I strongly do agree: you should stop and listen... it WILL amaze you !"
The Bluesiest of all the Blue Note Organists
Eddie Landsberg | Tokyo, Japan | 02/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you see this CD, and it says IN STOCK, go get it... it ain't so easy to find... I picked up my copy in Tokyo... and that's a long way from home for me. Incidentally, if this is the same edition, instead of a clunk plastic CD case, it comes in a small LP like cardboard holder that looks pretty cool. The front and the back look like a miniturized version of what the original LP probably looked like. - - You'll need a magnifying glass to read the liner notes though... or a good command of Kanji to read the Japanese version contained inside of it.
Whatever, Stop and Listen is Baby Face Willette's follow up to his classic FACE TO FACE session. It was recorded in May of 1961. Babyface Willette, though perhaps not the most remembered, was one of the first, most unique and best Blue Note "house organists" in the '60s - - he's heard here recording with the quintessential Blue Note house rhythm section, Grant Green on Guitar and Ben Dixon on drums.Babyface had both his contemporary's Jimmy Smith and Jack McDuff's sense of coolness and groove, but put much more of a blues grind in his playing - - the end result, is you have early Grant Green playing at the core of his roots, and both are locked in by Ben Dixon, the quintessential Jazz organ drummer... The end result is some purrrrty darn heavenly Hammond...Both the opening and closing tunes WILLOW and WORKSONG alone are worth the purchase of this great album. Get your hands on it !"
A "Must Have" album
Dr.D.Treharne | Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom | 05/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don't know how many at a time Toshiba-EMI press of these albums, but mine came in a jewel case with Japanese sleeve notes, and with a helpful full-size reprint of the original sleeve notes by Joe Goldberg. Goldberg makes use of an article by Frances Newton in the New Statesman about where Willette was coming from musically. The line up on the album is the same as on "Grant's First Stand"- another "must have" album. However, the result is different. Everybody gets a chance to spread out, with Green responding well to the bluesy and earthy nature of what Willette was doing, which was playing from a blues and gospel background, filling in the bass using the pedals and allowing Ben Dixon the drummer to spray clusters of fills around the music of the other two. Green sounds as though he loved every minute of the sessions. The chemistry works best on Willette's own compositions, of which my favourites are "Chances are few" and "Stop and listen". Even where he edges into standards,the outcome is a very bluesy stew. This is particularly true of "At last" which gets a real makeover. Even the version of Nat Adderley's "Work Song" is transformed. It's my most expensive purchase since the Freddie Roach import that I reviewed last year. However, repeated plays have confirmed that it is indeed a "must have" album, and if Eddie didn't convert you with his excellent review, I hope that mine will clinch the deal!"