The Johnny Hodges-Wild Bill Davis Project, Vol. 4. BLUE HODGE (LP). This out-of-print LP (which has not yet been reissued on CD) is the earliest of several matchups between altoist Johnny Hodges and organist Wild Bill Davis. With the assistance of Les Spann on guitar and flute, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes, Hodges and Davis mostly stick to fresh material, including three then-recent originals by Gary McFarland. Highlights include "Azure Te," "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dream" and "There Is No Greater Love," in addition to some swinging blues.
Although the Misunderstood were among the best obscure psychedelic bands – indeed, among the best obscure '60s rock bands of any kind – they barely got to record anything before tragic circumstances broke them up. The discovery of this bunch of previously unknown mid-'60s acetates, then, was big news to psychedelic rock aficionados, though most of this actually comes from their garage R&B days rather than the psychedelic peak they attained with their late-1966 lineup. The first nine of these 14 tracks come from sessions spanning mid-1965 to early 1966, and show them as a ferocious, above-average moody raw R&B-based group, somewhat in the mold of a more guitar-oriented Animals.
Prelude was a successful match of McDuff's small-combo organ jazz with big band arrangements by Benny Golson. In part, that was because the blend was well-executed, never fighting with or drowning out McDuff's organ. But it was also because the mixture made it stand out amidst the scads of organ jazz records being churned out in the early '60s. While a very young George Benson was in the core quartet on guitar, a dozen others supplemented the players, including trumpets, trombones, French horns, and saxophones.