- Audio CD (12 April 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Giant Steps
- ASIN: B0039L1J3Y
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 588,263 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
The Truth CD
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The Truth (the Whole Truth & Nothing But the Truth)
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At the start of the 1960s, pianist Les McCann s star rose faster than the blood pressure of
those shortsighted detractors who regarded his run of deep fried West Coast soul jazz
hits such as Vacushna , A Little ¾ For God & Co , Fish This Week But Next Sunday
Chitlings and The Truth as nothing more than opportunism. Wrong!Les McCann was
amongst the vanguard of those musicians who, like Horace Silver, Ramsey Lewis, Ray
Bryant and Bobby Timmons plus a plethora of Hammond organists spearheaded by Jimmy
Smith and Screamin Jack McDuff, were steeped in gospel grease hallelujahs and driven by
an infectious Baptist backbeat.As early as the mid- 50s, the terms funk and soul were
being widely employed amongst Hard Boppers to describe gospel-tinged down-home, calland-
The source, for the most part, stemming from all those small group recordings that Ray
Charles made for the Atlantic label: jukebox friendly 45s that informed a whole
generation of both young jazz and pop musicians. For instance, Brother Ray as much as
pianist Erroll Garner had a profound influence on a young Les McCann. Miles Davis was
amongst the first to spot McCann s potential and promptly recommended him for the stillto-
be-filled piano chair with Cannonball Adderley s upcoming new band.Whereas, most
players would jump at such an opportunity, when Cannonball called, McCann declined the
offer, as he was intent on establishing his own trio. It would seem that Les McCann
worked harder than most other musicians to achieve his aims. And, as such, never let any
opportunity slip by un-noticed to where he recorded a string of phenomenally successful
albums that connected with everyone from college co-eds to Tinsel Town s hipster
Though he often performed familiar selections from the American Songbook, McCann s
appeal as a high-profile soul jazz popularizer was all down to his abilities as a groove
cutter on self-penned juke box friendly tunes including Vacushna , A Little ¾ For God &
Co , Fish This Week But Next Sunday Chitlings and The Truth . All these and much more
are included on this collection that documents Les McCann s impressive debut on record.
For the first seven tracks, Les McCann Ltd are joined by one of Central Avenue s original
bebop tenor sax icons Teddy Edwards, who most famously locked horns with Dexter
Gordon and Wardell Gray. Edwards was also a member of Howard Rumsey s famed
Lighthouse All-Stars and, in 1954, became Clifford Brown s original front line partner in
So this then represents Les McCann - The Truth the whole Truth and nothing but the
Top Customer Reviews
In fact, it's a very good straight ahead jazz record, totally lacking in any sort of extraneous nonsense. Tracks 8-15 are by a trio with Leroy Vinnegar and Ron Jefferson, his working band of the time, and look to be a straight re-issue of 'The Truth', which I think was his first UK disc. The earlier tracks are by the same trio plus Teddy Edwards on tenor, and I don't remember them ever being issued before.
The quartet tracks have Edwards playing beautifully. He is relaxed and swinging, favours the top half of his horn more than most, and is wholly in control. On ballads, such as 'Fools Rush In', his lines are attractive, and on faster numbers like 'Undecided' the whole band swings you into ill health. Had he ever relocated to New York he would surely have been a big name. McCann plays swinging bluesy piano, a bit like a slightly less glossy Oscar Peterson, Vinnegar was probably the best bassist on the West Coast at the time and shows it, and Jefferson, although never the most light fingered of drummers, makes sure things swing at all times, and is fairly discreet.
The trio is more of the same, with a selection of attractive tunes, including standards, a moving tribute to Carl Perkins , and a number of catchy blues and gospel originals, like 'Vacushna', 'A Little 3/4 for God & Co' and 'Fish This Week'. At that time soul jazz was all the thing and McCann, like Bobby Timmons, was one of the more attractive composers and players in the idiom.
All in all an attractive bluesy swinging session with the added bonus of the ineffable Mr. Edwards.