7. Grant Green (from Grantstand, Blue Note, 1961)
One of Larry Young’s frequent collaborators, guitarist Grant Green here uses a different organist—Brother Jack McDuff—along with Al Harewood’s shucking hi-hat and Yusef Lateef’s flute. The latter plays quick fills in a slow call-and-response with the guitar, light touches that give the song an ethereal lift. That disappears when Green really begins to groove, zooming straight into the soul gutbucket along with McDuff’s churchy vamps. Even as he does, though, Green sticks to short phrases with poetic cadences, not trying to say too much or crowd McDuff out. A sly quote of “’Round Midnight” finishes the proceedings off.