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Up Tight!

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Album Review

Gene Ammons recorded many albums for Prestige but, if this CD is a good start for listeners unfamiliar with his playing. A reissue of two LPs (Up Tight and Boss Soul) recorded during the same two-day period, these performances find Ammons backed by a pair of four-piece rhythm sections (with either Walter Bishop or Patti Bown on piano and Ray Barretto's congas a major asset) and taking the lion's share of the solo space. Ammons sounds particularly warm and emotional throughout this CD, particularly on such numbers as "The Breeze and I," "I'm Afraid the Masquerade Is over," a cooking "Lester Leaps In" and "Song of the Islands." His sound and style effectively bridged the gap between bop and soul jazz.


Born: April 14, 1925 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Gene Ammons, who had a huge and immediately recognizable tone on tenor, was a very flexible player who could play bebop with the best (always battling his friend Sonny Stitt to a tie) yet was an influence on the R&B world. Some of his ballad renditions became hits and, despite two unfortunate interruptions in his career, Ammons remained a popular attraction for 25 years. Son of the great boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons, Gene Ammons (who was nicknamed "Jug") left Chicago at age 18 to work with...
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