Bobby Forrester - Organist

Bobby Forrester Organist (Dobre 1971)

Funk – with a capital F – is the heartbeat of Bobby Forrester’s obscure debut record from the early seventies, Organist.

Bobby Forrester - Organist

Personnel

Bobby Forrester (organ), Elijah Williams Jr. (guitar), Johnny Kirkwood (drums)

Recorded

in 1971 at Gold Star Studio in Los Angeles

Released

as Dobre 1012 in 1971

Track listing

Side A:
Something
Sandford And Son Theme
Blues For Razz
Funky Fly
Side B:
The Next Time You See Me
Don’t Misunderstand
Uncle Funky
On Broadway


PPrestige and Blue Note were the big suppliers of organ jazz. Other independents like Impulse, Atlantic, Sue, Solid State, Groove Merchant all had their star organists at one time or other, with organists freely switching between them. Verve signed Jimmy Smith in 1963, a million-seller crossover to the white market. Then there were the obscure one-offs, labels that released only a few organ titles. Dobre is such a company, which released a hodgepodge of jazz in the seventies including titles by George Russell, Bobby Hackett and Mundell Lowe. And, weird but true, one organ record: Bobby Forrester’s Organist. How lovely when life is weird but true. How great it would be if life would strictly be weird but true.

Forrester played with Stanley Turrentine, Harold Ousley, George Coleman and was a longtime accompanist of r&b singer Ruth Brown. The organist was a mainstay at East Coast clubs as Minton’s, Baby Grand, Club Baron and recorded Organist on the West Coast, in Los Angeles in 1971. He’s got Elijah Williams Jr. on guitar and Johnny Kirkwood on drums. They conjure up a meaty, hot background to Forrester’s organ groove. A good, snappy band that knows how to lock in with the B3 beast – hi-hat and upright bass in sync with the B3 bass – is a prerequisite for meaningful organ jazz. Williams and Kirkwood kick ass.

Forrester’s slow and stilted take on George Harrison’s Something may not be a promising start but he subsequently makes good with soulful balladry (Don’t Misunderstand from the Shaft movie), soul and blues (On Broadway, Blues For Razz, The Next Time You See Me) and a couple of lascivious funk jazz bombs (Funky Fly, Uncle Funky, Sandford And Son Theme) that make organ, guitar and drums the equivalent of machinist, locomotive and engine, steamrolling a hot Amtrak train over the tracks of America’s tears.

Uncle Funky (by Harold Ousley) has the X-factor. But Forrester’s take on Quincy Jones’s Sandford And Son Theme is the definite highlight. Spurred on by the big beat and well-placed punches of Kirkwood, Forrester’s plethora of blues and funk patterns is reminiscent of the likes of John Patton, Groove Holmes, Jimmy McGriff, steadily working towards a climax in the Gold Star Studio in the City of Angels, California.

As Ruth Brown, self-proclaimed discoverer of Forrester, put it in her liner notes of Organist:

“Perhaps the ‘brother’ I overheard leaving the club the other night should be writing this because he said it all when he said, ‘Man that little white dude sure can play his ass off’.”

Art Blakey - Just Coolin'

Art Blakey Just Coolin’ (Blue Note 1959/2020)

NEW RELEASE – ART BLAKEY

Another one from the vault of Blue Note, hurray! The buoyant, invincible swing of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers infuses Just Coolin’, a 1959 session with the classic frontline of Lee Morgan and Hank Mobley.

 

Art Blakey - Just Coolin'

Personnel

Art Blakey (drums), Lee Morgan (trumpet), Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone), Bobby Timmons (piano), Jimmy Merritt (bass)

Recorded

on March 8, 1959 at Rudy van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey

Released

as BN 64201 in 2020

Track listing

Tracks:
Hipsippy Blues
Close Your Eyes
Jimerick
Quick Trick
M&M
Just Coolin’


Shelving excellent sessions was second nature to Blue Note boss Alfred Lion. He undoubtedly had his reasons for ignoring Art Blakey’s session of March 8, 1959. On the strength of Just Coolin’, unearthed by ace producer Zev Feldman, Lion’s reasons could hardly have come from a musical viewpoint. Just Coolin’ is top-notch Blakey: hip tunes, hard and fluent swing, fiery and tasteful contributions by Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley and Bobby Timmons.

What else then would’ve been Lion’s considerations? After the unexpected hit record of Moanin’ in early 1959 Lion shelved the drum-oriented Drums Around The World session of November 2, 1958 – released in 1999 – and instead released the equally percussion-heavy session of November 9 as Holiday For Skins Vol. 1 & 2 in June 1959. Skins, furthermore, consisted not of Blakey’s successful working band but featured Donald Byrd, Ray Bryant, Art Taylor, Philly Joe Jones and Ray Barretto, among others. Presumably, the “drum” sessions were specifically stimulated by Blakey. Presumably, Lion was looking for a follow-up to the popular Moanin’ album. He put the Messengers in the studio in March not long after they had returned from a tour in Europe.

But instead of releasing that session, Lion chose to go for a live recording of April at Birdland, released as At The Jazz Corner Of The World Vol. 1 & 2. Not a bad idea, Blakey’s preceding live records, Live At Birdland and At Club Bohemia, had been good sellers, capturing The Jazz Messengers at their spontaneous best. Perhaps Lion was challenged as well by French RCA, which released Au Club St. Germain Vol 1, 2 & 3 early in 1959, beating him to a punch. Most of all, I think Lion trusted on his intuition, looking for another good Blakey seller. And Jazz Corner, showcasing Blakey as genial jazz ambassador and his Messengers as exciting young bloods, did sell properly. Lion had to make choices for his complete roster of artists all year round. He shelved the excellent November ’59 session of Africaine (released in 1981) at the expense of Big Beat. Flooding the market is of no use.

Even if you’re prepared for Blakey’s big beat, hearing his band in full bloom is still an exhilarating experience. The session is restored beautifully, coming at you as if the Messengers are playing in your room. Four tunes, Close Your Eyes, Mobley’s Hipsippy Blues, M&M and Just Coolin’, would appear on At The Jqzz Corner Of The World. Timmons’s Quick Trick and Jimerick (unknown composer) are previously unreleased tunes. Jimerick is especially noteworthy, an uptempo cooker with a jump blues-feel and catchy stop-time theme that showcases bright, energetic solo’s by Timmons, Morgan and Blakey.

Just Coolin’ is vintage Messengers, Blakey pushing the band at paced mid to up-tempos with driving shuffles, typically driving his men through hard bop avenue with the Blakey Press Roll and various lush and greasy accents and rim shots. Perhaps the records lacks an epic tune and perhaps there’s one tenor sqeak too many, but how the elegant and classy Mobley has always maintained both drive and his cool in front of Blakey is one of the joys of this particular line-up. Morgan is all chutzpah, grease, fire. At times, his notes deliriously dance on the changes, solidly landing on their feet, which combined with Morgan’s bright and brazen tone is a very gratifying experience.

The Jazz Messengers were about honesty, blues and what Mobley alluded to in his quote of a famous, emblematic Ellington piece during Close Your Eyes. There’s plenty of that on Blue Note’s latest “vault” release.

The Facts About Fats

FATS THEUS –

Remember Fats Theus? Bet you do if you’re deeply into tenor/organ grooves. Otherwise, the tenor saxophonist has been largely under the radar. Even admirers of the CTI catalogue – his sole album Black Out was released on CTI in 1970 – often are not aware of this recording. I wrote a review of Black Out a couple of years ago. It’s a gritty record, definitely out of step with the crafty, smooth CTI approach of producer Creed Taylor.

I received a comment on the Theus review on our Instagram page from Mark Cathcart. Cathcart devotes a website – ctproduced – to the work of Creed Taylor and mentioned his latest post on Black Out. The post is made up entirely of a piece by guest writer and connoisseur Douglas Payne, who sheds light on the career of the elusive Theus and provides context to the origins of his sole leadership date which included funk jazz stalwarts of the period, guitarist Grant Green and drummer Idris Muhammad.

(From l. to r, clockwise: Fats Theus’s Black Out and his sideman dates on records by organists Billy Larkin and Jimmy McGriff)

While I highly esteem Creed Taylor for his many top-notch and important endeavors in jazz production and admire the high-level musical and unique visual concept of CTI, I have never been a big fan of the label, fatigued by its slick sound and fun package of instruments including synths, strings, bongos, triangles and what not. Different strokes for different folks.

Having said that, kudos to Cathcart for developing his document on CTI and Douglas Payne for the insightful piece on the enigmatic Fats Theus.

Ray Brown - Bass Hit

Ray Brown Bass Hit! (Verve 1956)

Ray Brown fronting an all-white band in 1956 was a major musical-social event. Bass Hit also happened to be a beautifully conceived hot date.

Ray Brown - Bass Hit

Personnel

Ray Brown (bass), Pete Candoli, Conrad Gozzo, Ray Linn & Harry “Sweets” Edison (trumpet), Herbie Harper (trombone), Jack DuLong & Herb Geller (alto saxophone), Jimmy Giuffre (clarinet, tenor saxophone), Bill Holman (tenor saxophone), Jimmy Rowles (piano), Herb Ellis (guitar), Mel Lewis & Alvin Stoller (drums), Marty Paich (arranger)

Recorded

on November 21 & 23, 1956 in Los Angeles

Released

MG V-8022 in 1956

Track listing

Side A:
Bass Introduction/Blues For Sylvia
All Of You
Everything I Have Is Yours
Will You Still Be Mine
Side B:
Little Toe
Alone Together
Solo For Unaccompanied Bass
My Foolish Heart
Blues For Lorraine/Bass Conclusion


Ray Brown’s flawless technique, abundant swing and elegant interplay got him at the top of the heap, playing with Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Count Basie, Benny Carter, Illinois Jacquet, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Milt Jackson, Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra. The list is endless. His work with the Ray Brown Trio in the 80s and 90s – Brown intermittently worked in the Hollywood studios – is peerless and his influence on subsequent generations is everlasting. Most of all, Brown, himself influenced by the legendary Jimmy Blanton, had a great, buttery tone and a unique gift for finding the right note at the right time. Ooh wee. How many times have I listened to an Oscar Peterson record and, for all Peterson’s commanding virtuosity and swing, have felt myself being inevitably drawn to Ray Brown, like a kid to the candy store? His enormous energy was overwhelming. I saw him perform just this once in my hometown’s legendary jazz club, Porgy & Bess. Brown’s giant groove, underscored by the radiant grin on his face, drove the band through the roof.

Brown, Pittsburgh-born, came on the scene in New York in 1946 and established himself from the word go. His alliance with Oscar Peterson in 1951 led to worldwide recognition and, by his own account, made him a considerably better player. By 1956, Brown had contributed his outstanding skills and groove to, among others, Johnny Hodges’ The Blues, Count Basie’s Basie Jazz, Roy Eldridge’s Rockin’ Chair, Benny Carter’s, Alone Together, Billie Holiday’s Lady Day, Lester Young’s Prez & Sweets, Charlie Parker’s Big Band, Illinois Jacquet’s Swing’s The Thing, Dizzy Gillespie’s Diz And Getz and Roy And Diz, Hank Jones’ Urbanity, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong’s Ella & Louis and an ever-growing slew of Oscar Peterson records. Almost all of them were on the Clef and Verve labels of Norman Granz, for whom the dependable and brilliant Ray Brown was a godsend.

Come 1956. Times were rough. The Supreme Court decision of Brown vs Board Of Education was a landmark event in 1954. It established the unconstitutionality of segregation in public schools. However, the ruling, further recorded in BBE part 2, proved something of a Pyrrhus victory, as states could choose to desegregate with “all deliberate speed.” Then there was Rosa Parks, who courageously refused to give up her seat in the segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. Some brave women, lest we forget – like Claudette Colvin – preceded the Montgomery Bus Boycott but it was Parks that turned into a symbol of rebellion and civil rights. Finally, the state court repealed bus segregation on November 16 – a week before the Ray Brown session. The protests nonetheless backfired considerably. Jim Crow wasn’t about to give in that easily.

The mid-50s was an era in which many black musicians still hesitated when the opportunity of touring the South arose. If they did travel south, they were not allowed in white-owned hotels and bunked at private places. Against this background, a jazz outing like Bass Hit – a black man leading a white orchestra – is significant. Jazz, like any great art form, may have been the battleground of plenty of cultural warfare but it never failed to contribute to progress and the growth of understanding, much in a fashion that Martin Luther King would have appreciated. Benny Goodman hired Teddy Wilson and Charlie Christian. Pearl Bailey was married to Louie Bellson. Miles Davis was, with sound reason, a motherfucker with an attitude, but Bill and Gil Evans were, for an eponymous time, his main men. The list of groundbreaking interracial mingling is impressive. Jazz, at its best, has no borders of any kind, is a game changer equal or arguably superior to the political process.

Bass Hit was recorded on November 21 and 23, 1956 in Los Angeles. It featured Pete Candoli on trumpet, Herbie Harper on trombone, Jack DuLong on alto saxophone, Jimmy Giuffre on clarinet and tenor saxophone, Bill Holman on tenor saxophone, Jimmy Rowles on piano, Herb Ellis on guitar and Mel Lewis on drums. Altoist Herb Geller and trumpeters Ray Gill, Conrad Gozzo and Harry “Sweets” Edison (black but a minor role) strengthen the reeds and brass. Drummer Alvin Stoller subbed for Mel Lewis on a few cuts. Marty Paich was the arranger.

I’ve always wondered how it came about that Brown fronted an all-white band, yet there’s not much in the way of recorded evidence or info. Therefore, I reached out to Jean-Michel Reisser-Beethoven from Lausanne, Switzerland, whom I came to know through the jazz forum Jazz Vinyl Lovers on Facebook. 56-year old Jean-Michel grew up with parents who were passionate lovers of jazz and befriended many visiting jazz legends. At age 3, Jean-Michel sat on the lap of Count Basie. When Jean-Michel was a young man, Ray Brown, having grown tired of managing himself, asked the young jazz buff to do his management. Jean-Michel managed Ray Brown for many years and, in the process, also worked for Harry “Sweets” Edison, J.J. Johnson, Joe Pass, Monty Alexander and many more.

Coincidentally, when we talked on the phone, it turned out that decades ago Jean-Michel had been visiting jazz club Porgy & Bess in Terneuzen regularly in his managerial role, at which time I, unbeknownst of his existence, was also present during performances of some of the jazz legends. A clear case of amazing serendipity, which warms my heart.

At any rate, here’s what Jean-Michel found out about Bass Hit through his conversations with Ray Brown and, to a lesser extent, Jimmy Rowles, Mel Lewis and Pete Candoli:

“It was Ray’s idea to do a big band album with him as a feature. Of course, a decade earlier Ray was featured on One Bass Hit and Two Bass Hit, which he wrote for Dizzy Gillespie. Ray told me that he had had in mind the idea of making a record with the bass as lead feature for many years. But his idea was too advanced for that time and in the late 40s you could hardly hear the bass. He always talked about it with Norman Granz, who approved of the concept. But the years went by, till Ray finally said it was the time to do it.

“Why did he record in Los Angeles? Well, in those days, the Oscar Peterson Trio did about 299 concerts in 300 days, it was crazy! The only way to do it was Los Angeles, because contrary to New York, they had long engagements on the West Coast, like two or three weeks at Zardy’s. So recording in Los Angeles was most convenient.

“Ray called his friends. Marty Paich. He loved the arrangements of Paich. Jimmy Rowles, Herb Ellis, Mel Lewis. Everybody was delighted to cooperate with Brown on such a special session. Ray wasn’t conscious of the fact that he was to lead an all-white band. He just called the friends that he wanted for the job. There weren’t many black people in the movie studios. Only a few, like Benny Carter. Now this record had a lot of impact. But Ray did not plan this in advance. He said: ‘Suddenly the producers and writers thought, man this guy leads, reads charts, does amazing solo’s, everything! It opened doors for black guys, they can do the job. A few months after the release, I got many offers, I couldn’t believe it! But I refused. I played jazz and wanted to travel.’ Of course, in 1966 Brown did eventually move to Los Angeles to play in the Hollywood studio bands. By then, he had cleared the path for Quincy Jones, J.J. Johnson, Benny Golson, who all made a career in the movie business.

“Oscar Pettiford had done bass-driven records but those were not arranged and organized as immaculately and not all-white. Bass Hit is the first record that showcases such an impressive lead role of the bass. At the same time, it works sublimely as accompanying force. Most of all, it is not just important on a musical level. It broke down social barriers. Jazz, like any great art form, is a force of change. Its great ambassadors definitely surpass the flawed ambitions of politicians.”

Bass Hit, the album: Brown firmly and authoritatively leads this band of top-notch contemporary white musicians. There is much to enjoy, not least the spicy muted trumpet of Pete Candoli, Herb Ellis’ earthy guitar, Bill Holman’s supple tenor saxophone and Jimmy Giuffre’s clarinet, which adds graceful coolness to Bass Hit’s essentially ‘hot’ program.

Ray Brown is boss, shading melodies, providing succinct interludes and concise melodious and strong solos, while the punchy arrangements cleverly underline Brown’s agile phrasing, as if he’s a singer, as if he’s, in a sense, Sinatra in front of the Count Basie band. Brown and the orchestra blend like strawberry and whipped cream, courtesy of Brown’s immaculate time feel, allowing him to fluently anticipate the brass and reed accents. Bass Hit is commonly called his record debut as a leader, while in fact Brown released New Sounds In Modern Music on Savoy in 1946. Bass Hit’s title alludes to that era, when Brown contributed One Bass Hit and Two Bass Hit to the Dizzy Gillespie orchestra. It presents a set of unabashed big band blues, poised balladry and mid-tempo standards.

You’ll hear a striking descending bass figure, taken from the potent Solo For Unaccompanied Bass, effectively and attractively introduce the record and segue into the opening tune, Blues For Sylvia. More blues, Blues For Lorraine and Brown’s Little Toe, firmly directed by Brown, penultimate blues groove master, ties together the threads that consist of well-known ballads of which Cole Porter’s All Of You is particularly notable. The detailed conversational level of the piece, especially the whispered staccato call and response of Brown and brass/reed, slyly heightens the tension. The booming release hits bull’s eye.

Bull’s eye, as a matter of fact, was second nature to the great Ray Brown.

The White Blinds Brown Bag (F-Spot 2020)

NEW RELEASE – THE WHITE BLINDS

Brown Bag and Muddy Water represent the yin and yang of The White Blinds, organ groove outfit from Los Angeles, California.

The White Blinds - Brown Bag / Muddy Water

Personnel

Carey Frank (organ), Matt Hornbeck (guitar), Michael Duffy (drums)

Recorded

in 2020 at Rich Uncle Records, Los Angeles

Released

as FSPT 1015 in 2020

Track listing

Side A:
Brown Bag
Side B:
Muddy Water


Whatever aspect of soul and soul jazz The White Blinds have chosen to tackle, they never fail to deliver. The trio, consisting of drummer Michael Duffy, organist Carey Frank and guitarist Matt Hornbeck, is a mainstay on the West Coast. They previously released their debut album Get To Steppin’ in 2018 and 7inch homage to Sly Stone and Charles Earland, Sing A Simple Song, in 2019.

Their latest “Homage” 7inch, a black (or shine orange limited edition) disc packaged in a blank sleeve straight from the jukebox era of lore, courtesy of F-Spot Records, combines hard groove with meaty soul song. Brown Bag was originally recorded by guitarist Ivan “Boogaloo Joe” Jones on his Prestige album Right On in 1970. The showcase for guitarist Matt Hornbeck is underscored by the effective rolls and steam engine beat of Duffy and full-bodied accompaniment by Franks. Hornbeck’s angular phrases work towards a rousing climax in a suspenseful manner. Brown Bag is a very pleasant dance floor cooker. The band forcefully flies through the modulations of the tune, the typically speedy Boogaloo Joe Jones lines and its self-penned, dynamic interlude.

On the other side of the spectrum, the original White Blinds composition Muddy Water moves with sensuous, Philly soul-ish ease. It might serve as kickstart to an evening of hugs and kisses, and it might have served, in another time and place, as the background to the vocals of the late great Sharon Jones. There evidently lies a genuine passion for vintage soul jazz at the heart of The White Blinds.

The White Blinds

Find Brown Bag/Muddy Water on F-Spot Records here.

Lloyd G. Mayers - A Taste Of Honey

Lloyd G. Mayers A Taste Of Honey (United Artists 1962)

It somehow slipped through the cracks. Lloyd G. Mayers’s A Taste Of Honey, major-league big band organ jazz record.

Lloyd G. Mayers - A Taste Of Honey

Personnel

Lloyd G. Mayers (organ), Clark Terry, Bernie Glow, Doc Severinsen & Snooky Young (trumpet), Britt Woodman, Paul Falise, Tommy Mitchell & Urbie Green (trombone), Don Butterfield (tuba), Barry Galbraith (guitar), George Duvivier (bass), Ed Shaugnessy (drums), Ray Barretto (bongos), Oliver Nelson (arranger)

Recorded

in 1962 in Los Angeles

Released

as UA 14018 in 1962

Track listing

Side A:
A Taste Of Honey
Desafinado
The Good Life
Going Up North
Side B:
The Golden Striker
For All We Know
Jacky-Ing
Alone Together


His name may sound like a movie tycoon but Lloyd G. Mayers was a jazz cat. A swinging cat that has decidedly performed under the radar. Presumably, Mayers was based on the West Coast. He was the pianist on tenor saxophonist Sam “The Man” Taylor’s Plays The Black And The Beautiful and organist on Lou Donaldson’s Rough House Blues in 1963. He also played piano on Oliver Nelson’s Impressions Of Phaedra, issued on United Artists in 1962. Coincidentally, A Taste Of Honey was also released by United Artists in 1962. Furthermore, the personnel is virtually similar. My guess is that, when CBS commissioned Nelson to record the soundtrack to the TV movie A Taste Of Honey, the credits somehow ended up with Mayers, perhaps at the instigation of Nelson. The playing of Mayers, who switched from piano to organ for this date, is a prominent feature.

Nelson is the arranger and the band includes trumpeter Clark Terry, trombonist Urbie Green, guitarist Barry Galbraith, bassist George Duvivier and drummer Ed Shaughnessy. It is a blast from start to finish on many levels. Every track is either intriguing or a stone-cold winner. The album features a refreshing diversity of tunes, some more challenging than usually included in organ groove records: the pop tune A Taste Of Honey, Latin standard Desafinado, blues tune Goin’ Up North, The Good Life, John Lewis’s The Golden Striker, Thelonious Monk’s Jacky-Ing and the ballads For All We Know and Alone Together.

Nelson squeezes every inch out of the orchestra. The sound is booming and made all the more interesting with robust calls and responses between brass and reed and inspiring off-beat accents. Nelson also makes the orchestra breathe by occasionally dividing leading roles between drums and bass and tuba. In this respect, the high drama of Alone Together, transformed from a ballad into an exotic medium-tempo tour de force, is exemplary of the outstanding talent of Nelson as arranger.

The crunchy organ of Mayers is embroiled in a playful dance with the orchestra, bursting out of it like splatters of lava from a volcano. Mayers limits himself to concise little stories, never cheap, always with meaningful simplicity and overwhelming temperament. He is matched by Ed Shaughnessy, whose precise and absolutely crazy amount of good punches lift the session to a higher level. The tension/release device is especially effective during Nelson/Mayers’s daring take of John Lewis’s The Golden Striker. Monk’s Jacky-Ing gradually builds up tension, via a sterling drum intro, fragmentary backdrops of brass and reed to the statements of Mayers and a lurid shuffle, coming to its conclusion with unadulterated orgasm.

Production – the orchestra sounds a bit far off – may not be top-notch. However, A Taste Of Honey is on par with (in some cases on the winning side of) the high-profile big band records of Jimmy Smith on Verve, which also were arranged mostly by Oliver Nelson. It is reminiscent of the way Ray Charles plays organ and of Brother Ray’s instrumental cuts of Genius + Soul Is Jazz. A feat that completely obviates the need for recommendation.

Great Scotties

SHIRLEY SCOTT –

I doubt if there is any artist in the history of jazz that released three similarly titled records in his or her career other than Shirley Scott. Miss Scott furthermore pulled the rip-tickling trick over the course of three decades.

Shirley Scott is one of the most beloved jazz organists who sustained a prolific career including recordings for Prestige, Blue Note, Impulse, Atlantic, Muse and Candid. Scott hailed from Philadelphia, quintessential organ jazz town. She was married with tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine in the 60s and also teamed up with him in the studio and clubs. The gelling of Scott’s soulful and church-rooted style and Turrentine’s blues-inflected phrasing is very appealing.

The first Great Scott record was Scott’s debut album in May, 1958 on Prestige. By then, Scott had been cooperating with tenor saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis for some time, having recorded for King and Roulette. Their cooperation on Prestige climaxed with the jukebox blues hit In The Kitchen in the summer of 1958. Great Scott ’58 displays Scott’s versatility, ranging from blues to the modern jazz of Cherokee and Miles Davis/Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s Four. Her Prestige (and subsidiary Moodsville) records – a staggering total of 23 titles – are marked by the organ’s open, orchestral settings, an old-fashioned sound that I feel detracts from her playing but it locks tight with the alert and driving rhythm section of bassist George Duvivier and drummer Arthur Edgehill. She recorded prolifically with Duvivier and Edgehill.

Listen to Scott’s The Scott.

Great Scott ’64 is a different ballgame. Impulse coupled Scott with arranger Oliver Nelson, who created a lush, driving big band texture. Scott finally came around to a more modern, percussive setting of the Hammond B3 organ and her single lines weave in and out of Nelson’s swelling brass and reed harmonies. I personally prefer Scott’s Impulse period. It did not exclusively feature big band albums. Her live date at the Front Room in Newark, New Jersey with Turrentine, Queen Of The Organ, is a cooker.

Hear how Scott takes on Oliver Nelson’s Hoe Down.

Scott struggled through the 80s, which was a bad time for organ jazz, concentrating instead on piano and teaching. She was more active again in the 90s. Her solid Great Scott ’91 record featured tenor saxophonist Buck Hill, bassist Art Harper and drummer Mickey Roker. Nothing like the combination of Hammond organ, Leslie speaker and tenor saxophone, it’s like tequila, lemon and salt. Scott squeezed every inch out of the format for almost five decades.

Shirley Scott passed away in 2002.