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Booker T. Jones

Hammond B3 alchemist Booker T Jones is one America’s most prolific, distinguished and instantly recognizable musical forces, and the arrival of his new Anti- album, Potato Hole, not only re-affirms his greatness, it also re-introduces the neglected all-instrumental format to a noisy, crowded marketplace crying out for precisely the type of soul satisfying pleasure which Jones excels at. With choice accompaniment by the capable Southern rock visionaries Drive By Truckers and a sound often pushed into over drive by the volcanic lead guitar of rock & roll legend Neil Young, it is an altogether extraordinary set. Featuring a mixture of newly written songs and a trio of intriguing covers, all recorded in a scant one weeks time, Potato Hole captures Booker T at the critical peak of a renewed creative phase in his storied career. “I really feel like I’ve been opened up again, I’ve got the creative muse working for me,” Jones said. “It’s like I have discovered a new method, a little road I can take to open it up, and I’m excited about playing this music.”

The album rolls through a selection of far-ranging compositions, each separate and distinct pieces that, by turn, manifest his characteristic adoration of the groove, exploring and exploiting each mood to the limit. Whether it’s a case of cosmological serenity or funky staccato chicken peck work-outs, Jones’ melodic vision and expansive arrangements are delivered with a mesmerizing quality. The album also pushes into sometime previously unvisited-by Jones territory: lead track “Pound It Out” is a brawny, relentless exercise in hard rock, an intense, driving song that’s far more of a head-banger than a blast of steam-heated soul. If that seems out of place, you don’t really know Mr. Jones; “I like rock music, always have.” he said. “Otis [Redding] did too, and we were getting into it a bit, but couldn’t really do it back then. It just wasn’t right for Stax.” The statement is more than a bit provocative, but the musician tosses out such revelations like carelessly hurled thunderbolts, an arsenal accrued over the course of his remarkable career.

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