Jack McDuff – The Honeydripper (1961/2014) [HDTracks 24-44.1]

Jack McDuff – The Honeydripper (1961/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 37:33 minutes | 429 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital Booklet | ©  Prestige Records
Recorded: February 3, 1961 at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Remastered: 2006, Rudy Van Gelder at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

The blend of Hammond organ, tenor saxophone, guitar, and drums is one of the signature small-group sounds that have come to be identified with Rudy Van Gelder’s Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey studios in the last half-century. That sound is heard here in one of the definitive “organ-tenor” sessions. The Honeydripper, a blues-heavy program of impeccable groove and feeling, marks the moment at which Jack McDuff left his new star and featured sideman status behind and became a certified leading light and star-maker in his own right. McDuff did it with a superlative group featuring the drums of stalwart Ben Dixon, the tenor sax of Ellington alum and rhythm-and-blues pioneer Jimmy Forrest, and (in one of his first New York recordings) the then-unknown guitarist Grant Green. While never a working band, this foursome displayed an instant rapport that remains a model of B-3 synchronicity.

The remaster of Jack McDuff’s hard swinging 1961 album The Honeydripper was overseen by Rudy Van Gelder himself, adding to the Concord/Prestige catalog the same treatment Van Gelder had done for Blue Note. The date featured the big tenor Jimmy Forrest, drummer Ben Dixon, and Grant Green on guitar in his recording debut. Green not only held his own with McDuff on the title track, “Dink’s Blues,” and “Blues and Tonic,” but he plays gorgeous fills and chord voicings in Henry Mancini’s “I Want a Little Girl.” Green was always more than a sideman as this date attests, and though he was part of the rhythm section, his playing is a standout on this date. McDuff was already in full possession of his voice as an organist, and his hard bop leanings began to subside here as he embraced a more soulful approach, no doubt informed by the effect Jimmy Smith was having on jazz with his crossover. This is an excellent date and should be picked up by anyone interested in McDuff as a great place to start, or for any serious collector because of the gorgeous sound of the remaster itself. ~~ AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek

Tracklist:
1. Whap! 4:24
2. I Want A Little Girl 6:48
3. The Honeydripper 8:15
4. Dink’s Blues 7:58
5. Mr. Lucky 5:04
6. Blues And Tonic 5:01

Personnel:
Jack McDuff, Hammond B-3 organ
Jimmy Forrest, tenor saxophone
Grant Green, guitar
Ben Dixon, drums

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