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Together Again! by Willis Jackson with Jack McDuff

Pay attention kids, as this gets a little confusing in. Together Again! collects two Willis Jackson w/ Jack McDuff albums from 1959-1961 Together Again! and Together Again, Again! - but not in that order; not Album A followed by Album B, but together, with an entirely new song sequence. Whatever - the wizards at Fantasy could put completely different song titles and a bikini shot of one of the gals from That 70s Show on the cover and it’d still be worth your carefully-considered CD dollar. Jackson is at his best here: warm, brisk, good-humoredly blustery, blues-drenched, bop-charged and dynamically swinging from top to bottom, a true son of Ben Webster who listened to and learned Louis Jordan and Big Jay McNeely when the art-conscious boppers weren’t looking. McDuff doesn’t have the sophistication of, say, Larry Young or the depth of Jimmy Smith, but he does have that sound that’s akin to hamburgers’ sizzling, rich as BBQ sauce, rollicking as seeing your team take the Super Bowl and comforting as corn bread muffins just out of the oven. And as icing on the cake (hungry yet?), Bill Jennings’ big fat guitar has a vaguely country-tinged (ever heard Hank Garland? Or for that matter Herb Ellis?), tremolo-accented tone that’s both down-home and cinematic (in that 60s spy-movie, Ventures/Henry Mancini ambiance.) This is a disc of joyful jazz that’s both quaintly dated and utterly timeless all at once, full of sly sophistication and sharkskin-sharp, Saturday night riff-age disguised as "mere" soul-jazz entertainment. I give this more stars than on the Golden Globes Award TV show.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Willis Jackson with Jack McDuff
  • CD Title: Together Again!
  • Genre: Soul / Funk Jazz
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Prestige
  • Musicians: W.J.: tenor sax; J.McD.: organ; Bill Jennings: electric guitar; Tommy Potter, Milt Hinton: bass; Al Johnson: drums; others.
  • Rating: Five Stars
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