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Jimmy McGriff: Funkiest Little Band in the Land

Funkiest little band in the land is right! McGriff and Co. lay down some of the funkiest grooves this side of James Brown. Recorded between 1968-74, these 13 tunes feature the Hammond B-3 master in various small group settings. While the liner notes list Connie Lester, sax; George Freeman, guitar; Eddie Gladden, drums and James Peacock, conga (with an uncredited trumpeter and electric bassist on several numbers), three tunes are from McGriff’s 1974 Fly Dude LP on Groove Merchant and spotlight Freeman and Ronald Arnold, sax.

Among them are the splendid “Jumpin’ the Blues”-actually Jay McShann’s “The Jumpin’ Blues”-which McGriff claims credit for (in 1974 he credited Jimmy Smith!) and his own slow burner, “Cotton Boy Blues.” Almost all blues here, including a peppy version of Smith’s “The Sermon” (which he also claims). Everybody cooks so hard I can almost overlook the 12 fadeouts. – Miles Jordan

Originally Published