Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Mark Whitfield: Mark Whitfield and the Groove Masters

I’m a sucker for a good organ-trio record, and this is a great one. Recorded on tour in Japan and released by a small Japanese label, Mark Whitfield and the Groove Masters is a guitarist’s tribute to two recently departed organ greats, Jimmy Smith and Jack McDuff.

It’s a hair-raising romp. Whitfield’s dynamic, intelligent playing supplies the ideal foil for the explosive work of organist Dr. Lonnie Smith-a master in his own right-and drummer Winard Harper. On Smith’s barnburner “The Whip,” Whitfield picks out an intricate solo while Smith builds chords into swells and splashes glissandos all over. “Bye Bye Blackbird” begins in a state of relaxation-Smith’s organ seems to whisper-but it develops into a deep groove, each musician propelling the others along until the tune grows loud and bold.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published