Shirley Scott Hip Soul (Prestige 1961)

Hip couple, hip soul. Finding a hip crowd for the collaborations between wife and husband Shirley Scott and Stanley Turrentine was a cinch.

Shirley Scott - Hip Soul


Shirley Scott (organ), Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone), Herbie Lewis (bass), Roy Brooks (drums)


on June 2, 1961 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey


as PRLP 7205 in 1961

Track listing

Side A:
Hip Soul
411 West
By Myself
Side B:
Trane’s Blues
Stanley’s Time
Out Of This World

Organist Shirley Scott released no less than eighteen albums on Prestige from 1958-61, including the subsidiary label Moodsville. Excluding six albums that the company released from 1965-67, when Scott had already become part of the Impulse label roster. Tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, married to Scott in 1961 and divorced in 1971, guest-starred on five albums by Scott on Prestige and Impulse. In turn, Scott was featured on four of her husband’s Blue Note albums.

They not only had grown accustomed to each other’s faces on daily bases, meshing musical styles hardly posed a problem. Scott had started her organ combo career with Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and therefore had plenty experience of playing with a highly original tenor saxophonist. The collaboration of Scott and Turrentine is about the blues and a fair share of standards and modern jazz. It comes as no surprise that the prolific recording duo was a popular attraction in the circuit of clubs of the soul jazz era.

The beautiful Shirley Scott looked great on a record cover, and high-spirited. Don’t mess with Shirley. Music-wise, her tasteful, driving playing style demands attention. Largely ignoring the revolution of Jimmy Smith, Scott preserved an orchestral approach during her years on Prestige, the settings of her organ ‘old-fashioned’ almost like Wild Bill Davis, the style full of gospel and swing and with few tinges of bop. It is only during her tenure on Impulse that Scott expands her territory with more elaborate single lines and a more modern sound.

Hip Soul is as good an example as any of the Scott/Turrentine combinations on Prestige. The group, including bassist Herbie Lewis and drummer Roy Brooks, performs the mid-tempo, down-home blues of Hip Soul, the sophisticated melody of Benny Golson, 411 West, the pleasurable standard By Myself, John Coltrane’s (surprise pick) Trane’s Blues, the catchy blues line by Turrentine, Stanley’s Time and Arlen/Mercer’s Out Of This World. Sounds like an appropriate second set at, say, New Jersey’s Club Harlem or Chicago’s Theresa’s Lounge, the crowd in anticipation of another hour of lurid down-home jazz.

They take their time to stretch out during the course of the very enjoyable 11 minutes of Out Of This World. Scott’s solo consists almost strictly of chords, the suspense hinging on voicing, her meaty touch and gospel feeling. Turrentine, the Single Malt of tenor saxophonists, all peat, oak, berries, cutting the phlegm and leaving a layered taste in the palate, demonstrates his unique way of bending blues-infested notes, sometimes stretching them as little but imposing wails, a hypnotizing brew. He swiftly phrases through his finest story of the album.

Stanley Turrentine passed away in 2000. Shirley Scott in 2002.

Great Scotties


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.

Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis Cookbook (Prestige 1958)

Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Shirley Scott pass the peas back and forth on their soul jazz hit album Cookbook.

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - Cookbook


Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis (tenor saxophone), Shirley Scott (organ), Jerome Richardson (flute A1-3, B1, B3, tenor saxophone B2), George Duvivier (bass), Arthur Edgehill (drums)


on June 20, 1958 at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey


as PRLP 7141 in 1958

Track listing

Side A:
Have Horn, Will Blow
The Chef
But Beautiful
Side B:
In The Kitchen
Three Deuces

Before DJ and promoter Alan Freed coined the term ‘rhythm & blues’ in the advertisements for his groundbreaking package shows in 1947, rendering it commonplace almost immediately, ‘race’ music was the general term for black popular music. Most likely, black musicians like Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis weren’t very focused on labels as ‘race’, swing and r&b, as long as their efforts led to the required financial rewards to pay their bills and put bread on the table. Davis played with Cootie Williams, Louis Armstrong and Count Basie in the early forties (throughout his career, Davis would have extended stints with Basie) and churned out jump-and-jivin’ honk-fests for labels like Savoy and Apollo for the rest of the decade. Meanwhile, the ‘new’ jazz created by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell and Kenny Clarke was labeled ‘bebop’. It is usually overlooked, but Davis mingled smoothly with the pioneering crew, functioning as MC on the bandstand of Minton’s Playhouse, not without adding his brand of tough tenorism, lest we forget. He also cooperated extensively with Sonny Stitt during the fifties.

In the mid-fifties, Davis recorded a number of albums with organist Shirley Scott on King, Roulette and Roost that were well-received by the small circle of admirers of the hard-working group on the ‘chitlin’ circuit’, the network of clubs in the nation’s black neighbourhoods. Few could foresee the succes of their subsequent recording on Prestige. The fact that Prestige, securing better distribution deals and more airplay, immediately re-issued Cookbook as Cookbook Vol.1 and subsequently also released Vol.2 and Vol.3 gives a good idea of the group’s popularity at that time. Their attraction, nonetheless, also faded fairly quickly and soon after Davis formed a more ‘hard bopping’ partnership with fellow combative tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin on the Riverside label from 1960 to 1962.

It is rather amazing, in hindsight, that a long slow blues like their take on Johnny Hodges’ In The Kitchen (12:53 minutes, although obviously, Jerome Richardson’s solo was deleted for the purpose of the length of a 7inch) turned out to be the group’s big jukebox hit. There’s no use getting trapped in the web of nostalgia and romanticizing. But one can easily imagine black folks tapping their feet and slightly shaking their hips while the sounds of In The Kitchen reverberate against the wall of a BBQ joint at the corner of 110th Street and Lexington Avenue. As Charles Bukowski wrote: Style is a way of doing, a way of being done. You might want to let this sink in while opening another bottle of Chateau de Catpiss.

It means that the Afro-American citizens of the post-war years possessed a hip musical taste. As people who’ve lived to tell occasionally have revealed, it wasn’t uncommon to comment among themselves on music of both Jackie Wilson and Ramsey Lewis, both Louis Jordan and Gene Ammons. Although soul jazz wasn’t complex jazz, it also wasn’t as ‘primitive’ as sometimes assumed. Moreover, it had a social function, as people shared their enthusiasm on nights out into town, eager for solid, funky entertainment. With the introduction of crack and the subsequent disintegration of the neighborhoods in the early seventies, the cohesive force of music received a big blow.

Shirley Scott’s solo on In The Kitchen seems filled with her memories of the sermons she attented in her youth. More like her forefathers Milt Buckner and Wild Bill Davis than modernist Jimmy Smith, Scott focuses on riffs and a theatre/accordion-type sound. Then it’s Lockjaw’s turn. Initially, Davis noodles age-old blues licks with a low-volume, breathy sound, but he progressively speaks up more forcefully and finally his howls take over the recording studio of Rudy van Gelder in Hackensack, New Jersey. One of the pleasures of playing with “Lockjaw” must’ve been that his imposing sound and scabrous style effectively pushes a group forward. Stimulated considerably, Jerome Richardson delivers a blues-drenched flute solo with a remarkable ‘singing’ tone and some rugged tongue-effects.

It may not be surprising, considering the regular working schedule of the Davis/Scott outfit at the time, that there are more tunes on Cookbook that are full of delicate interaction and rock-solid swing. The fast-paced Avalon runs smoothly, both “Lockjaw” and Richardson’s balladry of But Beautiful is tender as well as meaty and the three uptempo songs The Chef, Have Horn, Will Blow and Three Deuces (presumably titled after the club on ‘The Street’ – 52nd Street, NYC – and with a rousing feature of Jerome Richardson on tenor) are first-class potboilers. Davis unites the terse swing of Ben Webster and a bit of Webster’s vibrato with deceptively nonchalant phrasing, freely and playfully making use of slurs, barks and husky honks. His way of stringing together lines sometimes has a peculiar, otherwordly quality. Like someone is spinning backwards a sax solo on the turntable. At the same time, Lockjaw sounds as if he has to scrub the dirt of his shoes every time he returns home from a gig. Mutually stimulating contrasts, resulting in an unforgettable kind of sax poetry.

Shirley Scott Shirley Scott & The Soul Saxes (Atlantic 1969)

Shirley Scott’s dressed up for the rock age. The musical garments don’t really suit the experienced, tasteful organist.

Shirley Scott - Shirley Scott & The Soul Saxes


Shirley Scott (organ), Ernie Royal (trumpet A1 & A2 & B1-B4), King Curtis (tenor saxophone A1 & A2 & B1-B4), Hank Crawford (alto and baritone saxophone A1 & A2 & B1-B4), David Newman (tenor saxophone, flute A1 & A2 & B1-B4), Richard Tee (piano A1 & A2 & B1-B4), Eric Gale (guitar), Chuck Rainey (bass A1 & A2 & B1-B4), Jerry Jemmott (bass A3), Bernard Purdie (drums A1, A3 & B1, B2), Jimmy Johnson (drums A2 & B3, B4)


on September 10, 1968 in Atlantic Studios, NYC and July 9 & 10, 1969 in Regent Sound Studios, NYC


as SD 1532 in 1969

Track listing

Side A:
It’s Your Thing
(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
Side B:
Stand By Me
Get Back
More Today Than Yesterday

From the mid-fifties to the early seventies Shirley Scott was one of the most successful and prolific organ jazz players around, presenting a cocktail of standards and bluesy jazz either with her trio or with the addition of Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Scott’s husband, tenorist Stanley Turrentine. Her fairly traditional work, perhaps more in the mould of Milt Buckner than Jimmy Smith, is recorded on King, Prestige, Impulse and (with Turrentine) Blue Note. Near the end of the decade Scott signed with Atlantic. Let’s try for something hip, Scott presumably must’ve thought. Her soul-heavy album Shirley Scott And The Soul Saxes sold reasonably well and is sandwiched between her Atlantic debut Soul Song and final release, the less succesful Something. In 1971 Scott switched to Chicago’s Cadet label, adding some challenging originals to her sets of evergreens and contemporary pop and soul. Shirley Scott And The Soul Saxes is not only soul-heavy, but rock-heavy as well. That’s the bad part.

But first the good part. Scott turns in tasty performances, she really ‘sings’ on (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman – the Goffin/King classic written for Aretha Franklin – and her gospel intro on I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free is enticing foreplay to a vibrant solo. This bouncy, medium-tempo tune is the album’s highlight. Coincidentally, it’s the only song on the album without horn parts. More Today Than Yesterday – a 1969 hit by The Spiral Staircase – is also one of the better performances. The vibe is relaxed and understatement is the main objective.

The album benefits from a tight-knit group of gifted sidemen. However, there are a couple of downsides. Despite the non-pareil funk qualities of drummers Bernard Purdie and Jimmy Johnson, the beat remains mechanic. Moreover, the promising repertoire suffers from bombastic production and arrangements. The sax section does its fair share of harmony, but sax solo’s are few and concise. Ain’t that peculiar? After all, King Curtis, Hank Crawford and David “Fathead” Newman – some heavy artillery there! – are prominently billed on the front cover. It’s a waste of talent. The bits they do contribute are excellent, especially Curtis’ solo on The Isley Brothers hit It’s Your Thing.

Guitarist Eric Gale had talent in abundance, but it seems he ended up at the wrong session. Considering Gale’s overdrive guitar sound and distorted licks, a sparring date with Jimmy Page of label mates Led Zeppelin would be more on target. The low point of the album is The Beatles’ Get Back. Its ridiculously fast tempo and over-excited ambience overshadows the solid statements by Shirley Scott.

That Atlantic Records lay heavy stress on a rock sound is unfortunate. A more sparse, earthy and less frenzied approach such as the label used for soul stars like Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett would’ve benefited Shirley Scott much more. Sometimes dressing up an artist for the new age can only go that far.