Finally, "Here 'Tis"
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 10/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lou Donaldson's "Here 'Tis" is one of those Blue Notes that collectors have been pleading to have reissued for years. Primarily this is because the album marked the recorded debuts of guitarist Grant Green and organist "Baby Face" Willette. (Please note that Grant Green's First Session wasn't released until 2001 -- see my review.) While Green went on to fame, if not fortune, Willette only recorded three more sessions for Blue Note, then seemingly vanished from the music world. However, the impact of both players is strongly felt on this January 23, 1961 session, Donaldson's first using the sax-guitar-organ-drum combo (Dave Bailey is the drummer BTW). Despite the new format, Donaldson was no rookie when it came to great soul jazz, he just previously found it with the help of congas instead of organ and guitar. While I still prefer Lou's more straight ahead jazz albums (see my recent review of "Lou Takes Off"), fans of funky boogaloos and acid jazz grooves will happily proclaim "Here 'Tis.""
A Soulful Breakthrough- 4 and 1/2 stars
Gerrit R. Hatcher | 02/25/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 1961 album is a true landmark. It marks Lou Donaldson's first true foray into soul jazz and a founding cornerstone of the genre, Blue Note giant Grant Green's recorded debut, and the recording debut of the great Babyface Willette on organ. If it was not for Babyface's untimely death, he would certainly have recorded as prolifically as Grant Green. This album has a great and unique sound, that is fresh and revolutionary, if a bit repetitious. Many would (rightfully) be wary of a Blue Note soul jazz album, because later in the sixties, soul-jazz, including Donaldson's, became the formulaic staple of Blue Notes ailing catalogue. This album, however, is anything but formulaic. Babyface and Green provide a soulful backdrop more bluesy and rhythmically gritty than the soul-jazz created by boppers like Jimmy Smith at this time. This is still a jazz album however, with huge amounts of solo space and interesting and exploratory improvisations. Lou, unlike other R&B oriented soul-jazz sax players, draws his style from Charlie Parker and bop era blues, not from old swing and R&B players (i.e. King Curtis, Eddie Lockjaw Davis) that never fully embraced the "modern music" idiom of the bebopers. This gives this grouping a unique sound in soul jazz, as even Lou would later work to smother this element of his style. This ensemble has the most perfect groove imaginable, but it suffers from having too many blues tracks of the same basic structure. Even one brief change of pace could raise this to a full five stars, but as it stands this album does not quite display enough variety to attain a perfect rating."