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Album Review

As an originator of the initial soul-funk movement of the '60s when he was with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Golson is eminently qualified to funkify jazz and R&B-flavored instrumental music. Nat Adderley plays cornet alongside Golson's tenor in this, one of his last recordings before he passed away. Always fresh and deep in the groove is pianist Monty Alexander, and acoustic bassist Ray Drummond plays fat notes with ultimate conviction. Also contributing here is genius drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith, who lays out rhythms that Bernard Purdie would be envious of. All of the tunes are well-known, save Golson's original "Mississippi Windows," dedicated to the saxophonist's days with R&B icon Bullmoose Jackson. Golson also re-casts his classic "Blues March" in a New Orleans style, while the steady tick-tock to shuffle stride of "Moanin'" is not all that different from the original. The ultra-funky "Work Song" is much more so than the original, while "Sidewinder" is the single tune on the date that is most faithful to the original and not rhythmically altered. There are two versions of "Mack the Knife": one is a half-speed funk with ol' Mackie coming back with a twist; the second is the sole solid swinger of the session, as Golson and Adderley swap licks half-and-half on the melody line, then join together and slightly modify the line. Though they're not swinging, for the most part, in conventional 2/4 or 4/4 jazz beats, in a sense they are swinging in their own inimitable, danceable, street-derived, backbeat-driven way á la Silver, Stanley Turrentine, and Grant Green, among others. Those inventors of this boogaloo-influenced subgenre should be happy with Golson's results. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

That's Funky, Benny Golson Funky Quintet
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