THE COMPLETE QUARTETS WITH SONNY CLARK includes the albums NIGERIA, GOODEN'S CORNER and OLEO as well as 3 additional tracks. This two-disc set gathers together the cuts for three Blue Note sessions teaming Grant Green with Sonny Clark. The first, NIGERIA, was originally release posthumously in 1980 and features Green's only collaboration with drummer Art Blakey. GOODEN'S CORNER and OLEO were both only released in Japan in 1979 and 1980, respectively. The latter two sessions featured Louis Hayes on drums along with Sam Jones, the bassist for all three albums. Luckily these sessions have been carefully restored and release for all to hear.
Grant Green, being known mainly as a soul-jazz guitarist, eventually gravitated into the popular boogaloo sound, a derivation of Latin music. The Latin Bit is the natural bridge to that next phase, though a bit premature for most in 1961-1963, even relative to the subsequent bossa nova craze. Pianist Johnny Acea, long an underrated jazzman, is the nucleus of this session, grounding it with witty chops, chordal comping, and rhythmic meat. The Latino rhythm section of drummer Willie Bobo and conga player Carlos "Patato" Valdes personify authentic, seasoned spice, while at times the chekere sound of Garvin Masseaux makes the soup too thick. At its collective best, the group presents a steady, serene, and steamy "Besame Mucho" and the patient, slow, slinky, sultry "Tico Tico.".
For the Funk of It is the second thematically focused volume in Blue Note's Original Jam Master Series that draws from guitarist Grant Green's late-period recordings for the label, from 1969 to 1972. Some of the players involved in these sessions include drummer Idris Muhammad, saxophonist Claude Bartee, Jr., Cornell Dupree (rhythm guitar), percussionists Hall Bobby Porter and Ray Armando, bassist Chuck Rainey, organist Emanuel Riggins, and many others. The material here is less bombastic than the soul and funk covers on Green's Ain't It Funky Now!, but they are still deep in the jukebox soul-jazz groove that was rapidly disappearing during the era.
Some of Grant Green's hottest moments as a jazz-funk bandleader came on his live records of the era, which were filled with extended, smoking grooves and gritty ensemble interplay. Live at the Lighthouse makes a fine companion piece to the excellent Alive!, though there are some subtle differences which give the album its own distinct flavor. For starters, the average track length is even greater, with four of the six jams clocking in at over 12 minutes. That makes it easy to get lost in the grooves as the musicians ride and work them over.
Quite an unusual album from Grant Green – a record that's quite different than his earlier records for Blue Note, but still pretty darn great overall! Grant's working here in a large group – Kudu style – with arrangements by David Matthews, but a sound that's still pretty lean overall! There's a fair bit of great players in the lineup – including Jon Faddis on trumpet, Hubert Laws on flute, and Joe Farrell on tenor – and the horns soar out nicely to set the scene over some tightly stepping backings – all served up with plenty of room for Grant to solo spaciously on guitar! The title track – "The Main Attraction" – is nearly 20 minutes long – and the other two tracks, "Creature" and "Future Feature", both approach the 10 minute mark themselves!
The third of three sessions Grant Green co-led with modal organist Larry Young and Coltrane drummer Elvin Jones, I Want to Hold Your Hand continues in the soft, easy style of its predecessor, Street of Dreams. This time, however — as one might guess from the title and cover photo — the flavor is less reflective and more romantic and outwardly engaging. Part of the reason is tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, who takes Bobby Hutcherson’s place accompanying the core trio…
On the heels of Matador and Solid, two of his most advanced albums, Grant Green decided to continue the more modal direction he'd begun pursuing with the help of members of Coltrane's quartet. Accordingly, he hooked up with organist Larry Young, who was just beginning to come into his own as the first Hammond B-3 player to incorporate Coltrane's modal innovations into his own style. Talkin' About is the first of three albums the Green/Young team recorded together with Coltrane drummer Elvin Jones, and it's exceptional, one of the most underrated items in Green's discography.