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Hank Crawford/Jimmy McGriff: Crunch Time

Crunch Time is classic Crawford/McGriff from the laid-back soulfulness of Crawford’s “Bow Legs” to the swing given to Horace Silver’s “The Preacher.” Saxophonist Crawford and organist McGriff, recording as a team for this, their seventh album, go together like red beans and rice, offering a similar blend of comfort and kick. Crawford’s distinct, bright tone penetrates the grooves laid-down by McGriff’s tasty chordings. It’s McGriff who adds the cayenne on his self-penned, bebopping title cut with drummer Bernard Purdie in the pocket all the way. A moving interpretation of the standard ballad “Without a Song,” gains emotional impact by its provocatively leisurely pace and the Crawford’s heart-wrenching blowing. Guitarists Melvin Sparks and Cornell Dupree, who are heard on alternating cuts, compliment the leaders whether comping behind them with those big fat chords or stepping out to solo. The sense of timing throughout this album and within these musicians is at the music’s essence. It’s the element which makes Crunch Time-and all of Crawford’s and McGriff’s music-so timeless.

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