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Got A Good Thing Goin by Big John Patton

Funny how things can change - many years ago, the thought of jazz organ combos did nothing for me (‘cept for the original Tony Williams Lifetime featuring Larry Young). Maybe I just didn’t hear the right stuff - like this Big John Patton (1935-2002) fellow. Many jazz organists fit or come from the soul/jazz sound (that fusion of gospel, R&B and bebop) of the 60s, and Patton does, too, but though he’s a darn SOULFUL player (and a ½) he doesn’t overplay the grits ‘n’ gravy aspect of things - point of fact, he’s got a very modern, post-bop edge (no wonder avant-titan John Zorn digs him - and Patton plays on two Zorn albums, no less). Got A Good Thing Goin’ is a tasty slab of classic, exuberant Blue Note R&B-inspired groove jazz (two tracks are covers of hits by Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke), and in this kitchen Patton is the boss and his chief cook is guitar ace Grant Green, playing here at the top of his single-note-solo powers, with a tone so articulate, sharp ‘n’ shiny you gotta wear shades if you want to get close. Thing is a tangy, goes-down-easy home-cooked meal, heavy on that nourishing cholesterol (and you’ll likely go for seconds). The really big selling point is the unison playing between Green and Patton - at times they sound like a whole new instrument, and both play like they’re having the time of their lives. There’s no bassist, and Patton doesn’t need one. Also noteworthy is Hugh Walker, who’s drumming has an unexpected but most welcome & appetizing, propulsive New Orleans sound. The only downside to this package is the lack of new/supplementary liner notes - though I gotta admit the original notes are an unintentional laff-riot on their own, dripping with achingly dated hipster-isms. [What, no bonus tracks???] Still, that’s a very minor point - if you’re a Patton (or BN jazz organ) fan, you can finally update the collection with a domestic CD. If you’re a newer convert to that big bad organ sound via Medeski, Martin & Wood and The Sugarman 3, put this on the top of your shopping list.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Big John Patton
  • CD Title: Got A Good Thing Goin
  • Genre: Soul / Funk Jazz
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Blue Note
  • Musicians: B.J.P.: organ; Grant Green: guitar; Hugh Walker: drums; Richard Landrum: conga. Rec. 4/66
  • Rating: Four Stars
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