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Jack McDuff: Jack-Pot

Organist Jack McDuff still has the stuff! Born in 1926 in Champaign, IL, McDuff began his career in Chicago more than a decade before he first recorded an album that helped to shape the heyday of the Hammond B-3 in jazz during the 1960s.

McDuff leads a swinging trio on this nine-tune album recorded in Milan (1991) with drummer (and, on two tracks, singer) Bobby Durham, and Massimo Farao, a pianist (and album producer) who shows affinity for expressing bluesy voicings and whose simple yet pleasing original, “Martasamba,” is performed by the trio.

On four tunes, the trio is expanded, albeit somewhat unimaginatively, by Piero Odorici (tenor sax) and Bruno Marini (baritone sax). (No clues in liner notes or press materials as to who they are.)

The core group (without Durham’s vocals) performs best, with McDuff, Durham and Farao exhibiting cohesive swingability, especially on McDuff’s original, “Spectator,” a nearly eight-minute selection that builds into a foot-tapping foray. For discerning listeners, it’s peak moments like this that truly hit the jackpot.

Originally Published