The Godfathers Of Groove
''The Godfathers Of Groove Vol. 3''
Label: 18th & Vine
For their album 3, the self-proclaimed Godfathers of Groove mix it up a bit more within the soul-jazz arena, playing interpretations of pop tunes, some straight-ahead jazz, originals, and in essence the funky music that is at the core of their identities. Bassist Jerry Jemmott was the special guest on their previous album, but here it is the veteran jazz saxophonist Bill Easley, who plays on selected cuts with his usual professional verve, panache, and solid, fluid lines. Guitarist Grant Green, Jr. is coming into his own as heard more clearly, while organist Reuben Wilson and drummer Bernard Purdie continue to stake their estimable reputations on the chitlin circuit music they grew up with. When the band chooses to swing, as on the basic 12-bar groove "My Blues" with its fleet organ solo amidst Purdie's shuffle beat, or the straight-ahead, uncomplicated, and simple "Down Hill" with Easley's deft tenor leading the way, there's little stopping them. A very, very, very slow take of "Stella by Starlight" gives Green Jr. an opportunity to emulate his famous father's unmistakable snappy technique, pulled off the bone and well done. His singing, a bit gritty, crops up on versions of "Light My Fire" and "What's Going On," admirable but not a strong suit. Where Wilson shines is his ability to either shred solos and melodies, as on the head-nodding groove of the delightfully rendered "The Funkster" or on the solid-sending feed he provides during "Groove On" above Green's overdubbed guitar parts. Of course, there is no more readily identifiable drummer than Purdie when he shakes and bakes the clockwork rhythms of "Monkey Milk," in an Average White Band "Pick Up the Pieces" mode, or adds his personal and widely copied light contemporary funk to a modified version of "Autumn Leaves." Purdie also proves he can swing with the best of jazz drummers, an aspect of his personality and career not always given due credit. This is a good recording with many high moments, the GOG laying in wait to deliver their collective goods on the truly killer effort they are certainly capable of.
Review by Michael G. Nastos (AMG)
Purdie, Wilson, and Grant Green Jr. are back! 3 showcases a fresh approach to the soul-jazz genre while retaining their signature groove. Special guest Bill Easley adds an awesome dynamic to their sound!
* Bernard "Pretty" Purdie has played on over 4,000 records and is currently playing nightly on the Broadway performance of Hair, which has racked up eight Tony Award nominations to date.
* Features Bill Easley on saxophone. Easley is a renowned session player who has worked with Isaac Hayes, done sessions at Stax, and performed with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Benny Carter, George Benson, Jimmy Smith, Ruth Brown, Bill Mobley, Victor Gaskin, Mulgrew Miller, Ron Carter, and Grady Tate.
* Reuben Wilson invented soul-jazz, a style of flowing B-3 organ playing over smoking drums that inspired players like George Clinton and Sly Stone.
* As the son of legendary jazz guitarist Grant Green, Grant Green, Jr. was exposed to exceptional musicianship right out of the womb. Today, his style blends technical mastery with heartfelt soul, and it is this combination that sets him apart.
"If you have heard the earlier GOG album or have enjoyed the members individually in other combinations, you'll know that what you are getting. If, like my friend Ray, you are new to the group or even new to jazz, you could not find a better place to start. The Godfathers of Groove could be called the Mailmen of Groove because when it comes to the eternal verities, when it comes to swing and soul, they most surely deliver." -- Bob Porter
1. My Blues 4:17
2. Down Hill 3:38
3. Stella by Starlight 8:33
4. Autumn Leaves 6:51
5. Monkey Milk 4:44
6. What's Going On 8:27
7. The Funkster 5:54
8. Groove On 4:14
9. You Send Me 7:37
10. Light My Fire 3:52
11. We're in the Money 5:08
Reuben Wilson (organ)
Grant Green, Jr. (guitar)
Bernard Purdie (drums)
Bill Easley (sax)