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FIVE STARS, BUT FOR THE ORGAN,
This review is from: Four Classic Albums Plus (Very Saxy / Callin The Blues / Count Basie Presents / Goodies From Eddie Davis) (Audio CD)
The earliest album in the set is "Goodies from Eddie Davis", which features two separate quartets, both of which include an organ. The first dates from 1952, with Bill Doggett on that instrument, Oscar Pettiford on bass and Shadow Wilson on drums. The second was recorded the following year, with Eddie Bonnemere at the keyboard, John Simmons on bass and Charlie Rice on drums. "Modern Jazz Expressions" came next, in April 1955, with Doc Bagby on organ and Charlie Rice still on drums, and five of its twelve tracks are incuded as a filler. "Count Basie Presents the Eddie Davis Trio plus Joe Newman" came from three December 1957 sessions. In addition to Basie, Davis and Newman, the group included Shirley Scott on organ, George Duvivier on bass and Butch Ballard on drums. The foregoing albums comprise the second CD.
The first CD is a more extended affair, comprising just nine tracks spread over 78 minutes. "Callin' the Blues" was recorded in July 1958, and Davis was accompanied by J.C. Higginbotham on trombone, Tiny Grimes on guitar, Ray Bryant on piano, Wendell Marshall on bass and Osie Johnson on drums. "Very Saxy" dates from April 1959, with Coleman Hawkins, Arnett Cobb and Buddy Tate joining Davis on tenor sax, Shirley Scott on organ, George Duvivier on bass and Arthur Edgehill on drums.
I may be in a minority of one, but I've a blind spot for the Hammond organ in general, which has always struck me as a novelty instrument. I'm sceptical of its credentials as a jazz instrument, and despite trying hard to accept its inclusion here, I remain unconvinced by the evidence. For me, therefore, this compilation is something of a curate's egg, the best part of which is represented by "Callin' the Blues". That said, Davis' playing is forceful throughout, the various rhythm sections are uniformly excellent, and the quartet of tenor masters elevates "Very Saxy" into a memorable jam session. If you are an organ addict then you can safely disregard my failure to award the fifth star.