Bobbi_humphrey-blue_breakbeats_span3 Lou_donaldson-blue_breakbeats_lou_donaldson_span3
November 1998

Bobbi Humphrey
Blue Breakbeats: Bobbi Humphrey
Blue Note Records
Lou Donaldson
Blue Breakbeats: Lou Donaldson
Blue Note Records

The early days of soul-fusion produced some gems, and some duds as well. Bobbi Humphrey's Blue Breakbeats (Blue Note CDP7243-4-94706-2, 37:18) is an example of that genre's tendency to slip into vamp-happy productions that smoothed out the funky edges of a lot of the stuff that went before. Languid,male chorus-spiced productions like "Harlem River Drive" and "San Francisco Nights", do little more than conjure a mood, though others like "Blacks and Blues" and the Latin-tinged "Please Set Me at Ease" conjure a little more fire.But while the disc's analog flavored grooves-culled from Humphrey releases between 1972 and 75-make for good samples, they fall a bit flat when stretched out to full length. For more consistent groove pleasure, turn to the partner disc:Lou Donaldson's Blue Breakbeats (CDP 7243-4-94709-2-7, 44:54) another "funkiest of" collection. And since it's a Donaldson compilation disc, the supporting cast is pretty star-studded: Blue Mitchell, Grant Green, Charles Earland, Idris Muhammad, Lonnie Smith, Big John Patton, and others. The material should be familiar to aficionados of this genre-the famous "Pot Belly" is highlighted by a tasty Ted Dunbar guitar solo, while Green and Patton take bows on "Caracas". And then there are the straight blues burners featuring Earland, Sparks and Co., like "Turtle Walk".

Originally published in November 1998
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