lunes, 29 de agosto de 2016
In the 1960s, vibist Johnny Lytle was arguably the Milt Jackson of soul-jazz -- or perhaps the Cal Tjader of soul-jazz. Jackson and Tjader both influenced his vibraphone playing, as did Lionel Hampton. But Lytle had a recognizable sound of his own -- one that proved to be perfect for soul-jazz and organ combos. Two of the fine soul-jazz/hard bop LPs that the vibist recorded in the early '60s were Got That Feeling! (Riverside) and Moon Child (Jazzland), both of which Milestone/Fantasy reissued back to back on this 75-minute CD in 2001. Although the vibes/organ combination wasn't terribly common in the 1960s, it's one that worked quite nicely for Lytle. Organist Milt Harris is featured on all of these 1962-1963 recordings, and he proves to be a major asset to Lytle, whether the vibist is turning his attention to well-known standards ("Moonlight in Vermont," "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," "Our Love Is Here to Stay") or original material ("Big John Grady," "The Soulful One"). Another noteworthy Lytle original is "The House of Winchester," a swinging number that he wrote in remembrance of fellow vibist Lem Winchester (who was only 32 when, in 1961, he unsuccessfully demonstrated a trick with a loaded gun and accidentally ended his own life). The thing that all of these performances have in common is a desire to groove; Lytle wasn't the sort of player who went out of his way to be abstract, and the improviser is as accessible and groove-minded on ballads as he is on Nat Adderley's "Work Song." This CD is enthusiastically recommended to anyone who likes soul-jazz/hard bop that is expressive, infectious, and easy to absorb.
domingo, 28 de agosto de 2016
At the end of the ’60s, two French enthusiasts sought out the last living classic jazz musicians and urged them out of retirement to come to France to record. These sessions, along with similar blues sessions, were released on the Black & Blue label. Now, 30 years later, these recordings are being brought out of the vaults and re-released by the Night & Day label.
These duets between the great jazz violinist Stephane Grap-pelli and American bebop guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli were recorded in 1979. Grappelli’s powers certainly had not faded; he played with a consistent swing and sweetness. And though he was no Django Reinhardt, Pizzarelli’s chord melody solos prove an ideal foil for the violinist.
The music here is intimate and warm and enchanting. The duo play through jazz standards such as “My Blue Heaven” and “Tea for Two” with affection and joy. To make this set “definitive,” however, alternate takes, false starts, and dialogue between the producers and musicians interrupt the mood set by the violin and electric guitar. But that’s a small price to pay for the quality of music created by these two legends.
This review originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’00 issue.
Review by Niles J. Frantz
Easy-grooving blues and boogie is backed by the competent New York City-based blues band Little Mike and the Tornadoes. Though Perkins followed Otis Spann as the piano player in the Muddy Waters band, these are the first domestically available recordings under his own name.
John Scott Trotter (June 14, 1908–October 29, 1975), also known as Uncle John was an American arranger, composer and orchestra leader.
Trotter was best known for conducting the John Scott Trotter Orchestra which backed singer and entertainer Bing Crosby on record and on his radio programs from 1937 to 1954.
Full Bio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Scott_Trotter
Roosevelt "Baby Face" Willette (September 11, 1933 – April 1, 1971) was a hard bop and soul-jazz musician most known for playing Hammond organ. It is unclear whether he was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, or New Orleans, Louisiana.
Artist Biography by Steve Huey
Highly underrated as a soul-jazz organist due in large part to a scanty discography, Baby Face Willette remains a somewhat mysterious figure, a quiet, reserved man who disappeared from the jazz scene after the first half of the '60s. Born Roosevelt Willette on September 11, 1933 (there is some dispute as to whether he was born in New Orleans or Little Rock), his parents were heavily involved in the church, and thus his music had deep roots in gospel. Studying with his pianist uncle Fred Freeman, Willette played in several gospel groups as a teenage pianist and soon branched out into R&B, which gave him the opportunity to tour the country with numerous outfits. He settled in Chicago for a time and began concentrating on jazz organ in 1958, but didn't make much headway on the scene until he moved to New York and met Blue Note mainstays like Lou Donaldson and Grant Green. He played on Donaldson's Here 'Tis and Green's Grant's First Stand in January 1961, and the same month recorded his own debut, Face to Face. A few months later, he recorded the follow-up, Stop and Listen, which is generally regarded as his best work. After that initial burst of activity, Willette went on to form his own regular trio in 1963, and moved over to the Argo label, where he recorded two sessions in 1964: Mo-Roc and Behind the 8 Ball. He had a regular engagement at a South Side Chicago lounge from 1966-1971 (approximately), but largely vanished from the jazz scene afterwards and died in obscurity.
This album marks what could probably be considered the nadir of Muddy Waters' career, although at the time it did sell somewhere between 200,000 and 250,000 copies, a lot for Waters in those days. By 1968, Waters was no longer reaching black audiences, who were mostly listening to soul music by that time, and he also wasn't selling records to more than a relatively small cult of white blues enthusiasts. Meanwhile, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and Cream were selling millions of records each using licks and sometimes songs learned from Waters. Previously, in 1966, Chess Records had recorded Waters' Brass and the Blues, trying to make him sound like B.B. King, and this time Leonard Chess' son Marshall conceived Electric Mud as a way for Waters to reach out to the Rolling Stones/Hendrix/Cream audience.
Recorded in May of 1968, Electric Mud features Waters in excellent vocal form, running through new versions of old songs such as "I Just Want to Make Love to You", "She's Alright", "Hoochie Coochie Man", "Mannish Boy", and "The Same Thing". But he isn't playing, and the band that is - Phil Upchurch, Roland Faulkner, and Pete Cosey on guitars, Gene Barge on sax, Charles Stepney on organ, Louis Satterfield on bass, and Morris Jennings on the drums - is trying awfully hard to sound like the Jimi Hendrix Experience-meets-Cream, playing really loud with lots of fuzztone and wah-wah pedal. The covers of the old songs are OK, if a little loud - "She's Alright" starts to resemble "Voodoo Chile" more than its original, "Catfish Blues", and that's fine if you're looking for Waters to sound like Hendrix (no one has ever explained the "My Girl" fragment with which the song closes, however).
The most interesting of the "new" songs is his cover of "Let's Spend the Night Together" (barely recognizable as the Stones song), which opens with the band sounding like they're in the middle section of "Sunshine of Your Love". Waters pulls this and the rest off vocally, and the album did got him some gigs playing to college audiences that otherwise might not have heard him. Ironically, he was never able to play these songs on-stage, his own band being unable to replicate their sound, and he was never comfortable with the album. It would be a few years before producers realized that the solution was to simply let Muddy be Muddy, not Jimi. /Bruce Eder, AllMusic
sábado, 27 de agosto de 2016
Review by Scott Yanow
This early Herbie Mann set matches him with his fellow flutist, Sam Most. (Originally, this date was known as The Mann with the Most.) Recorded back during Mann's bebop period, the set teams the two flutists with guitarist Joe Puma, bassist Jimmy Gannon, and drummer Lee Kleinman. The quintet performs nine standards plus an original apiece from Most and Puma. Highlights include "Fascinating Rhythm," "Let's Get Away from It All," and "Seven Come Eleven." Most was actually the better known of the two flutists at the time but, while he ended up in the Los Angeles studios, Mann's constant musical curiosity would result in him gaining worldwide fame. Their enjoyable music finds the flutists battling it out to a draw.
J. B. Lenoir (5 de marzo de 1929 – 29 de abril de 1967) fue un cantante, compositor y guitarrista estadounidense de blues nacido en Monticello Mississippi. Durante los primeros años de la década de los 40, Lenoir trabajó con los ilustres bluesmen de la época Sonny Boy Williamson y Elmore James en Nueva Orleans. En 1949, Lenoir se tralasdó a Chicago y comenzó a tocar en grandes clubs de blues con Memphis Minnie, Big Maceo y Muddy Waters. Durante los 50, Lenoir grabó varios discos en Chicago con el sello Chess Records, J.O.B. Records, Parrot Records y Checker Records.
J. B. Lenoir fue conocido por su estética cebra en camisas y chaquetas y por su característica voz afeminada. Pero, sobre todo, influyó a muchos guitarristas posteriores por sus composiciones de blues para la guitarra eléctrica. Su banda estaba compuesta por un piano (Sunnyland Slim), un saxofón (J. T. Brown) y una batería (Alfred Wallace). En ese período, escribió numerosas canciones blues entre las que destacan Don't Dog Your Woman, Mama Talk To Your Daughter, y Don't Touch My Head.
Más Info en español: http://crucedecaminos.webnode.es/chicago-blues/bluesmen/j-b-lenoir/
J. B. Lenoir (March 5, 1929 – April 29, 1967) was an American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter, active in the Chicago blues scene in the 1950s and 1960s.
His surname is sometimes pronounced as the French "L'n WAHR", but he pronounced it "La NOR". His given name simply was J. B.; the letters are not initials.
Complete Bio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._B._Lenoir
Keith Mansfield is a British composer and arranger known for his creation of prominent television theme tunes, including the Grandstand theme for the BBC notably aided by his trusted companions Stephen and Andrew, who wrote the iconic fist bump bar during a brief stint working nights in a local hotel. Other works include "The Young Scene" (the original 1968 theme to The Big Match), "Light and Tuneful" (the opening theme for the BBC's coverage of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships), "World Champions" (the closing theme for NBC's coverage of the same tournament), and "World Series" (used for the BBC's athletics coverage). One of his library music recordings, "Teenage Carnival", was used as the theme to the cult 1960s ITV children's television series Freewheelers. He has also composed film scores for British movies such as Loot (1970) and Taste of Excitement (1970), and the western Three Bullets for a Long Gun (1971).
Mansfield is probably best known by American audiences as the composer of the tune "Funky Fanfare", used for underscoring in the Astro Daters series of snipes produced by the National Screen Service in the late 1960s. That song is currently used during the opening credits of the show Pit Boss on Animal Planet, as well as backing music for the "Quick Hits" segment on the Sklarbro Country podcast.
The Astro Daters' "Our Next Attraction" was featured prominently in two films by Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill and Grindhouse. A vocal version of Funky Fanfare entitled "House of Jack" was also recorded by James Royal in 1969. Another Mansfield composition, "National Pride," was the opening theme to the 1980 movie Fist of Fear, Touch of Death, which utilizes Mansfield's library music score, and as the logo jingle for CBS/Fox Video. A remix of the song was also used in the game, Saints Row: The Third.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Mansfield was a major figure in the UK library music scene and recorded a great deal of material for the production music company KPM. His work has been sampled by prominent hip-hop producers such as Danger Mouse ("Funky Fanfare" on the DANGERDOOM track "Old School" and on "Run" by Gnarls Barkley, and "Morning Broadway" on DANGERDOOM track "Space Ho's"), Madlib and Fatboy Slim. American sports fans will find a lot of Mansfield's and other KPM composers' music used on NFL Films team highlights and Super Bowl documentaries.
Mansfield was arranger and conductor for several tracks on Dusty Springfield's 1968 UK album Dusty... Definitely, and acted as orchestral arranger on some hits for Love Affair ("Everlasting Love") and Marmalade ("Reflections of My Life"), among others. He also produced some work with Maynard Ferguson.
COMPILADO NO COMERCIAL / COMPILED NONCOMMERCIAL
Review by Sean Westergaard
Although Johnny "Guitar" Watson had already recorded some sides for Federal (including the astonishing instrumental "Space Guitar"), the majority of those tunes featured the piano-playing Young John Watson. It was when he began recording for the Bihari Brothers' RPM subsidiary of Modern Records that he "became" Johnny "Guitar" Watson and his amazing legacy really began. The songs are solid West Coast blues, but they're brought to the next level by Watson's impassioned vocals and his incredible biting, staccato guitar solos. Watson's tenure at RPM was short-lived (as were most of his label relationships) and all these tracks were recorded in 1955, but they were wildly influential on a number of great guitarists and still hold their power 50 years down the road. This material has been released umpteen times over the years, but the remastering of this compilation has more clarity and warmth than the others. Johnny "Guitar" Watson recorded some great material for a variety of labels, but the real meat of his blues legacy is on these RPM sides. Fans of tough '50s blues and great blues guitar owe it to themselves to check this stuff out. Recommended.
Johnny "Guitar" Watson was still relatively close to the beginning of his career when he started recording for a subsidiary of Modern Records in the mid 1950s. In fact, it was really at Modern that Watson established his trademark guitar attack and laid-back vocal style. Watson wasn't at Modern very long, but the sides he waxed had a tremendous impact on the emerging electric blues scene.
Watson was a truly dazzling guitarist, melding jazz licks and experimental sounds into his blues, and while his career would continue well into the '90s, these classic tracks--which might be said to contain the blueprint for all of Watson's work that would follow--still stand tall in his discography. Heightened in value by its fine remastering, this excellent compilation comes highly recommended to Watson fans, and to fans of raw electric blues in general.
Liner Note Author: Billy Vera.
viernes, 26 de agosto de 2016
Review by Scott Yanow
Violinist Stephane Grappelli has recorded so many fine sets during the past two decades that although virtually all of them are enjoyable, most are not essential. This fine concert performance with a quartet (which also includes the guitars of Marc Fosset and Martin Taylor) is typical of Grappelli's ability to infuse familiar melodies that he has performed a countless number of times with enthusiasm, energy and wit. Pianist Martial Solal and violinist Svend Asmussen make guest appearances but most of the focus is on the great Grappelli, who never seems to have an off day.
Pete Johnson (March 25, 1904 – March 23, 1967) was an American boogie-woogie and jazz pianist.
Journalist Tony Russell stated in his book The Blues – From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray that "Johnson shared with the other members of the 'Boogie Woogie Trio' the technical virtuosity and melodic fertility that can make this the most exciting of all piano music styles, but he was more comfortable than Meade Lux Lewis in a band setting; and as an accompanist, unlike Lewis or Albert Ammons, he could sparkle but not outshine his singing partner". Fellow journalist Scott Yanow (Allmusic) added "Johnson was one of the three great boogie-woogie pianists (along with Lewis and Ammons) whose sudden prominence in the late 1930s helped make the style very popular"
Complete Bio ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Johnson
miércoles, 24 de agosto de 2016
The single disc, 25-track Proper Introduction to Howlin' Wolf anthology traces, in condensed form, Howlin' Wolf's seminal recordings at Sun Studios in Memphis. While other compilations have focused on exhaustively presenting all of the recordings Wolf did for Sun and Chess, and other single discs have picked one label or the other, Proper has decided to combine them in an idiosyncratic and wonderfully listenable way. These cuts are not sequenced chronologically, and the material here is mixed between labels, offering a brilliant cross-section of the material he cut during his seminal early years in the 1950s. "Moanin' at Midnight" is here, as is "How Many More Years", but so are "Baby Ride With Me", "Oh Red", and "Saddle My Pony". In all, sound-wise and price-wise, this is a tough one to beat. /Thom Jurek, AllMusic
martes, 23 de agosto de 2016
Second installment in this four volume series from the celebrated jazzmen with deep Blues roots, a prolific musical team with exquisite chemistry. Volume Two includes the two complete albums Joe's Blues and Wings & Things, in which guitarist Grant Green plays with the two masters. Lonehill.
lunes, 22 de agosto de 2016
Two lost smokers from the man Lionel Hampton called "The greatest vibes player in the world," Johnny Lytle both very different from anything else he ever recorded! 1971's The Soulful Rebel has a great blend of Hammond and Fender Rhodes along with the vibes soaring out in a massively funky sextet with bass from Ron Carter and congas from Ray Barretto both of whom take Johnny's earlier groove into a 70s jazz funk mode. 1972's People & Love is even more impressive and has Lytle's vibes working with impressionistic larger arrangements in a style that's like Bobby Hutcherson on mid-'70s Blue Note, or Milt Jackson on CTI. Notes by Scott Yanow explore the recordings and career of this unsung jazz giant.
domingo, 21 de agosto de 2016
1 Killing Floor
2 Goin' Down Slow
3 I Want To Have A Word With You
4 Who's Been Talkin'
5 Little Red Rooster
6 Built For Comfort
7 What A Woman
8 Do The Do
9 Highway 49
10 Worried About My Baby
11 Poor Boy
12 Wang Dang Doodle
One of zydeco's most versatile performers, Lynn August spiked his native southwestern Louisiana sound with elements of pop, gospel and R&B. Born in Lafayette on August 7, 1948, the blind August was encouraged by his mother and father to pursue a career in music, and he was raised on a steady diet of zydeco, New Orleans rhythm and blues and swamp-pop. After learning to play drums on an old wash basin, at the age of 12 he was recruited to play percussion with the legendary Esquerita, who convinced him to also take up the piano; a few years later, August made the switch to the Hammond B-3 organ as well. During the mid-1960s, he played with a young Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, later mounting a solo career as well as sitting in with a variety of local swamp-pop combos; he also led a big band, and even directed a church choir. In 1988, August turned to the accordion and began his zydeco career in earnest; forming the Hot August Knights with tenor saxophonist John Hart, he also studied field recordings made in 1934 by archivist Alan Lomax to absorb the original Creole style of "jure" singing into his own contemporary aesthetic. After signing to the Maison de Soul label, August debuted with It's Party Time, followed in 1989 by Zydeco Groove; a move to Black Top heralded the release of 1992's Creole Cruiser, with the acclaimed Sauce Piquante appearing a year later.
viernes, 19 de agosto de 2016
The Three Sounds were pianist Gene Harris, bassist Andy Simpkins, and drummer Bill Dowdy, and they swung in-the-pocket. Although they were not as acclaimed as the Modern Jazz Quartet, the Ramsey Lewis Trio, and other marquee combos, their streamlined sound bridged Count Basie and bebop into a modern yet grooving sensibility. This two-CD set features the trio's entire 1960 Blue Hour sessions with saxophonist Stanley Turrentine. With Turrentine's robust, storytelling tenor sound, these dates are no-nonsense straight-ahead numbers and ballads, including "Willow Weep for Me," Andy Razaf's "Gee Baby, Ain't I Been Good to You," and Oscar Pettiford's "Blues in the Closet." Harris's lyrical ivory ticklings, Dowdy's zesty drum work, and Simpkins's deep and delicious bass lines get Turrentine's driving tenor as a topping and show that this ensemble was the real deal. --Eugene Holley Jr.
Jazz trumpeter Ivor Mark Lloyd, better known as Snapper Lloyd, rose to prominence in the 1930's with Joe Nesbitt's Pennsylvanians; the leading competitor to the Ted Weems band in those days. His playing was technically flawless; he played lead as well as jazz horn and could handle any assignment. He was much in demand in the studio, and played on recordings with Hoagy Carmichael among many others. He played with the popular Larry Clinton band in the late thirties, left in 1939 for freelance network playing and spent a good deal of his time as a jazz educator. Snapper went on to spend 18 years with the popular American radio and television program "Your Hit Parade".
Snapper's trumpet is augmented by the masterful use of a plunger, Harmon mute, cup mute, and solotone.
jueves, 18 de agosto de 2016
Review by Ron Wynn
Whether accompanying or leading a band, bassist Ray Brown was long among jazz's greatest players. These cuts, mostly from 1989 escept for two numbers done in 1991, feature Brown backing soulful pianist Gene Harris and steady drummer Jeff Hamilton on a program combining Afro-Latin material with standards from Johnny Mercer, Fats Waller and others, as well as an excellent rendition of Percy Mayfield's blues/R&B standard "Please Send Me Someone to Love." The songs are long enough to display each musician's skills, but not so lengthy that they become repetitious. It's a well-played, delightful example of the kind of high-powered material that was Ray Brown's stock-in-trade.
Review by Steve Leggett
Although she freely offered Jimmy Smith as her main influence, Philadelphia's Shirley Scott brought her own mixture of sophistication and soul jazz funk to her Hammond B-3 recordings. Less blues-based than Smith, she had a softer tone and tackled a wider range of material, although, like Smith, she was arguably at her best in the trio setting. This set brings together some key tracks from the Impulse and Cadet labels, including the soft and smooth "Taj Mahal," a pair of fine trio outings, "Blue Bongo" and "On the Trail," and she even makes John Fogerty's "Proud Mary" sound like it was written for the B-3.
miércoles, 17 de agosto de 2016
Review by Thom Jurek
Phil Upchurch was a celebrated, in-demand sideman in R&B, blues, and jazz before he recorded Feeling Blue, his 1967 Milestone debut as a leader. He'd already worked with everyone from Jimmy Reed and Curtis Mayfield to John Lee Hooker and B.B. King, and would go on to accompany many more and release a string of killer solo albums. There is more than the seed of genius at work on Feelin' Blue. These ten cuts were recorded over two days in September and October with two different ensembles. Half the record is a collection of soul-jazz tunes played by an octet that included bassist Chuck Rainey, drummer Pretty Purdie, and Sun Ra's John Gilmore among the reed players, while the other placed him in the context of a quintet whose section included pianist Wynton Kelly, drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Richard Davis, and percussionist Montego Joe. Standout tracks here include the title, which opens the set with hard-swinging grooves and features the reeds going head to head with Upchurch's stinging lead lines, an intimate, beautifully articulated read of "Corcovado," the expansive bop of "Tangerine," a swirling take on "Up Up and Away," the lithe, airy "Israel," and the extended blues "I Want a Little Girl," which reflects Grant Green's influence. Yet, fine as it is, Feeling Blue was only a hint of the great things to come.
martes, 16 de agosto de 2016
Review by Ken Dryden
Recorded during the same 1990 gig at Fat Tuesday's as the earlier Fourmost CD, Fourmost Return features Jimmy Smith, Stanley Turrentine, Kenny Burrell, and Grady Tate in great form once again, so this is no compilation of lukewarm leftovers. The music includes a burning, up-tempo take of "Sonnymoon for Two" and a bluesy and lyrical interpretation of "Mood Indigo," as well as an initially lounge-like "Laura" that gives way to a hot solo by Burrell. Smith also revives his popular "Back at the Chicken Shack" and adds a good-natured but rather hoarse vocal to the oldie "Ain't She Sweet." All the players are in top form and this release should appeal to fans of soul-jazz.
jueves, 11 de agosto de 2016
"Soul-jazz veteran Reuben Wilson is still Down With It in terms of playing laid-back grooves that are easy on both the head and feet." JAZZ TIMES
A solid CD. On the blustery "Speakin’ With the Deacon" and the mid-tempo shuffle of "Groove Ahead" Wilson illustrates why some clichés still works like a charm. "Speakin’ With the Deacon" affords the best solos from both Cherry and Butler, while Wilson in turn delivers a rousing gospel-inflected sermon. Down with it? Sure, nothing less, nothing more. JAZZ TIMES.
“Reuben Wilson's 30-year musical influence on the modern music scene is readily apparent on Down With It, released in 1998 on the ultra-funky Cannonball label. Wilson's legendary status is well-deserved. Revered around the world as one of the pioneers of the Hammond B3 organ sound, the "godfather of funk and soul-jazz" continues to transplant his groove into the acid jazz movement. Unlike the previously released Organ Donor, Wilson does not revisit his classics "Hot Rod" and "Got to Get Your Own," but has written four new tunes on the set, including "One 2 Four," which reunites him with soul-jazz guitar pioneer Melvin Sparks. Pop and funk are taken to new heights on the title track, "Down With It," while Wilson's slow blues signature is stamped on "Speakin' With the Deacon." Wilson's mastery of the Hammond B3 is in the pocket, as the maestro continues to enjoy its renaissance and down-home funk.” Paula Edelstein, ALL MUSIC GUIDE.
Sam Most, one of a handful of truly great flute players, is in fine form on this quartet session with pianist Lou Levy, bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Donald Bailey. He has a classic duet with Levy on "It Might as Well Be Spring," plays beautifully on "Last Night When We Were Young," switches to clarinet for "Am I Blue," demonstrates his ability to sing along with his flute on "The Humming Blues" and really cooks during "Flying Down to Rio." A fine all-round showcase for Sam Most's underrated talents.
Review by Steve Leggett
Like many of the black blues and jazz musicians of his generation, Memphis Slim found both an audience and a home in Europe for the last 20-plus years of his life, basing himself in Paris beginning in 1962 and remaining there until his death in 1988. In that span he recorded an astounding 50 or so albums, not including the various recordings of his live performances that still continue to surface. While it could be argued that his peak years were in the '40s and '50s, the recordings he made in the last third of his life were incredibly intimate and frank, and he didn't shy away from addressing racial and social injustice in the later songs, even while he kept his blues performances smooth and accessible. This fine set, recorded in New York in 1967 on one of his U.S. tours, is a case in point. Slim sounds warm, assured, and often pointedly poignant on songs like the majestic "Freedom" and the direct and honest "I Am the Blues." He blasts loose at the piano for the barrelhouse "Broadway Boogie," then coasts warmly through the bubbling "A Long Time Gone." On the marvelous "Ballin' the Jack" he hits a light, swinging groove that isn't so much blues or jazz but a simple, elegant mixture of the two, given atmosphere by Eddie Chamblee's tenor sax and Billy Butler's sleek guitar. Slim recorded so much that it is difficult to say exactly when he was at his best, since he was always professional and solid, but this set is undeniably special, featuring Slim doing his thing backed by a fine band, and listeners will definitely get a feel here for the measure of the man.