Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Brother Jack McDuff - Hunk O'Funk

Example
Brother Jack McDuff
Example
Nobody (but NOBODY) represents the “Hammond Groove’ era better than the mighty Brother Jack McDuff. The man laid down his first album (under his own name) in 1960, and recorded all the way up to his passing in 2001. McDuff covered all the bases, capable of playing the greasiest, down-home tavern style R&B movers as well as soul jazz and funk, always making his mark. McDuff recorded for Prestige through the mid 60’s, laying down classic 45s like ‘Hot Barbecue’, ‘Grease Monkey’ and his outstanding cover of the Marvellettes ‘Too Many Fish In The Sea’ from his 1966 ‘Walk On By’ LP. In 1966 he moved to Atlantic records, where he would record four albums over the next two years. Though I find his Atlantic work to be hit and miss, when it hit, it hit hard. His 1966 LP “Tobacco Road” includes the essential ‘I Can’t Be Satisfied’ (also available as a two-part 45). In 1968 he entered a period where he would record for both Cadet and Blue Note through 1970. This is for me – by a longshot – his most interesting and productive period. The sounds started to get funky, and on his adventurous 1969 ‘Moon Rappin’ LP on Blue Note, decidedly far out. The really interesting thing for me with McDuff is the fact that unlike many of his contemporaries, he had a genuine feel for funk, and his recordings showed that he something to say beyond the confines of the one or two funky 45s or album tracks offered by so many others. His Cadet/Blue Note period is marked by some serious growth as an artist, resulting in some of his best work. The lps in the ’68-’70 period are dominated by strong original material, solid (and interesting) arrangements and some of McDuff’s best Hammond work. The 1970 Blue Note LP ‘To Seek A New Home’ was arranged by J.J. Jackson and featured a large ensemble that included members of Jackson’s ‘Greatest Little Soul Band’, including bassist Larry Steele and keyboardist Chris Parren. Today’s selection – the albums hottest cut – ‘Hunk O'Funk’ is not only one of the funkiest Hammond 45s in my crates but one of the best numbers McDuff ever laid down. The cut opens with an incredibly tasty drum break (recorded as if they had anticipated the era of sampling – it was later sampled by Black Sheep and Fatboy Slim among others), with the horns and rhythm section dropping in for a verse. There’s a short break, followed by a seriously funky flute solo (there are three flute players credited, so I can’t say for sure who’s playing) featuring some great Rahsaan Roland Kirk style overblowing. By the time the organ comes in Brother Jack is ready and raring to go. The entire time he’s soloing (and through much of the rest of the record) Parren can be heard comping on what sounds like a clavinet, and the contrast between the keyboards works really well. Interestingly enough, the album was recorded in the UK. Sadly, Blue Note has not yet chosen to reissue ‘To Seek a New Home’. ‘Hunk O’Funk’ is available on the ‘Blue Funk’ and ‘Blue Note Rare Grooves’ compilations. The 45 will be a lot harder to track down...

9 Comments:

Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Yessssss!

8/25/2005 10:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MAN! what a track. thank you.

8/26/2005 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey Siegel said...

Keep that organ funk coming Larry! Anyone who wants more and hasn;t been to my site should go to www.straightnochaserjazz.blogspot.com. Hope the commerial isn't bad form!

8/26/2005 12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous cj grogan said...

Man that's one funk-tronicorgan. I dig the horns/woodwinds as well. See,ms kind of laid back at first and then get's into this "Cotton Comes to Harlem" groove. I listened to it twice more!

8/27/2005 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Nice one. Unfortunately haven't come across that jazz 45 yet, but hope I do. Another one for the wants list....

8/28/2005 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger guapo said...

the brother is wild!

8/28/2005 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Andy's Blue Note World said...

H I

I have three of Jack MCduff Blue Note LPs ....classic ...all of them I have Moon Rappin, Down Home Style and Who knows what tomorrows is gonna bring...I would dearly loooooooove to get my hands on To seek a new home

Anyone else go that?

By the way my site has a list of what I have...rather than post it here ....email me if interest or click on my profile etc

I

12/01/2005 03:06:00 PM  
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12/31/2005 02:11:00 AM  
Blogger Aluwi7 said...

I got this lp...It's dope, the classic drum break that everyone has sampled, but it's in the vein of early Hank Crawford on Kudu with Bernard Perdie & another funky Mc, Jimmy McGriff! If U like this lp, check out Jimmy McGriff The Worm or even better his Electric Funk 1969 lp on Blue Note...DDDDOOOOOPPPPPEEEEEEE, especially the track called 'back on track'! Gone
Dee Jay A-seven
www.myspace.com/deejayaluwi7

6/23/2008 05:27:00 PM  

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