(Don Byron, tenor sax/clarinet/bass clarinet; Curtis Fowlkes, trombone; David Gilmore, guitar; George Colligan, Hammond B-3; Brad Jones, bass; Rodney Holmes, drums; Chris Thomas King, vocals & guitar; Dean Bowman, vocals)
Super-creative reed man Byron continues to involve himself deeply in one small area of music – often outside the jazz genre – and then puts together a concept album based on his interpretations of that type of music. Most have been rousing successes, no matter how incongruous – for example his delightful klezmer album – and my favorite: the Raymond Scott CD.
This time it’s a Motown singer and saxist who I must admit I hardly knew of. He brought in a B-3 virtuoso, of course, a great guitarist and a couple of vocalists, and the whole thing is an admittedly tight and hard-driving jazz funk trip. Several of Walker’s big Motown hits are covered. There’s also a James Brown tune – him I certainly know of! Problem is I don’t like jazz funk, but that doesn’t mean you won’t. Another possible problem is Byron surprisingly leaves his astonishing clarinet playing out of the mix except for only two of the dozen tracks. Guess clarinets weren’t much in evidence in the Motown studios.
Tracks: Cleo’s Mood, Ain’t That the Truth, Do the Boomerang, Mark Anthony Speakers, Shotgun, There It Is, Satan’s Blues, Hewbie Steps Out, Pucker Up Buttercup, Tally-Ho, What Does It Take to Win Your Love, I’m a Roadrunner.
– John Henry