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Jackie McLean: New and Old Gospel

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Here are four more limited edition Blue Note reissues. When these titles were waxed in the late ’60s, Blue Notes were seen as records, not holy grails, and the music was thought of as verging from ’50s hard bop towards modalish pieces or strongly R&B-or Latin-flavored tunes with hopes for radio play. There were also a few terrific avant garde dates by the likes of Wayne Shorter, Sam Rivers, Tony Williams, Don Cherry, etc. All these trends are reflected in this offering.

No doubt Lee Morgan’s success with “The Sidewinder” caused musicians and A&R types to think about funky follow-ups, and many of the trumpeter’s subsequent sessions featured a tune or two aimed at airplay interspersed with solid hard bop. Caramba is in this category. Morgan and his front line partner Bennie Maupin don’t do that much with the title track but the rest of the date ranges from good to excellent. The rhythm team of Cedar Walton, Reggie Workman, and Billy Higgins is spectacular.

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