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Grant Green: Ain’t It Funky Now!

Grant Green

These three compilations are subtitled The Original Jam Master, and they take their cuts from Green’s last six records for Blue Note: Carryin’ On (1969), Green Is Beautiful (1970), Alive! (1970), Visions (1971), Shades of Green (1971), The Final Comedown (1971) and Live at the Lighthouse (1972). Each volume shares the same introductory liner notes by Bob Porter who then goes on to provide brief track-by-track analysis for each disc. For such a thematic compilation of a specific period of Green’s career, a three-CD box set-or a box set of all seven original LPs, since not all the records are in print-might have made better packaging sense (if worse economic). But as snapshots of Green’s late Blue Note career, these are fine portraits indeed.

Ain’t It Funky Now! is the strongest of the three discs on the merit of the James Brown title track alone (originally on Green Is Beautiful). Idris Muhammad lays down some severe boom-bap, augmented by Candido (congas) and Richard Landrum (bongos), proving he’s just about the funkiest jazz drummer ever. For more evidence proceed to the group’s take on Kool and the Gang’s “Let the Music Take Your Mind” (from Alive!). Whiplash will ensue. The other five songs are also interpretations of the day’s soul hits, and that is the main difference between Ain’t It Funky Now! and For the Funk of It, which spotlights compositions by Green, his bandmates and arrangers.

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