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Bernard Purdie: Soul To Jazz II

Speaking of Cornell Dupree, he’s one of several notables on veteran skinsman Bernard Purdie’s Soul To Jazz II (ACT 9235-2 63:02), yet another reminder of the near limitless enjoyment to be derived from players who understand the nuances and inflections of the Afro-Atlantic tradition, better known as blues and swing. How else could someone breathe a smidgen of freshness into that most clichŽd of soul jazz standards, “Me Magic,” here slowed down to a near-#reggae-fied stroll and greased up with some straight-out-of-the Atlantic catalog sax bleats by Hank Crawford? This date turns some of the most skilled soul jazzers on the planet loose on material close to their hearts-with some, like the set-ending “Amen,” going straight for the gospel uplift. Purdie, Dupree, Crawford, Stanley Turrentine and pianist Junior Mance join Jack DeJohnette, Benny Green and Vincent Herring in a teeing-off session; imagine the Packers’ Gilbert Brown and Reggie White at a porterhouse-eating contest. “(Sometimes I Feel Like) A Motherless Child,” “Nobody Knows (The Trouble I’ve Seen)” as well as DeJohnette’s island-tinged “New Orleans Strutt” all get well thought-out workovers, in a relaxed swinging disc that’s enjoyable from start to finish.

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