A lost chapter of genius from vibes player Billy Wooten – and a great one too! The set's a rare outing with Hammond giant Groove Holmes – laid out nicely here in a quartet setting that offers up plenty of Billy's great vibes mixed with the organ – in a mode that's very different than anything else Wooten ever recorded, and which really takes us back to the best soul jazz years of 60s Prestige Records! The group also features great tenor from Jimmy Coe – a player we don't really know at all – and drums from Jozell Carter, who works nicely with the rhythms from Holmes' work on the Hammond. Titles include "Blue Bossa", "Bags", "Groove's Blues", "It's A Groove Thing", and "I Remember April."
Of all of organist Jimmy Smith's big-band albums recorded for Verve, this is one of the most imaginative ones. Oliver Nelson arranged a variety of themes from Prokofiev's Peter & the Wolf into a swinging suite featuring the great organist Jimmy Smith. Although there is no verbal narrative on this LP, Nelson's liner notes tell the story (which can actually be followed through the music) and Smith pays respect to the original melodies while making strong statements of his own. A classic of its kind.
Guitarist-singer Jimmy Thackery's 1998 set stretches beyond the blues. A ferocious rockish guitarist with a vocal style that ranges from shouting to mellow, Thackery is easily the main star of his disc. However the other members of his Drivers are strong (Al Gamble on organ and piano, bassist Michael Patrick and drummer Mark Stutso), and there are features for guest accordionist Chubby Carrier on "Take Me With You When You Go" (a zydeco romp) and singer Reba Russell ("Dancing on Broken Glass") plus a helpful appearance apiece by Lonnie Brooks and Joe Louis Walker. From blues to rock with touches of zydeco, country, pop and folk, Thackery constantly stretches himself and gives the music his best.
Ex-Nighthawks guitarist Jimmy Thackery has been playing his own brand of blues-tinged rock as a solo artist for some twenty years now (he left the Nighthawks in 1987) and there's no denying that he's a first-class guitarist with a sharp ear for tone and a knack for perfectly placed fills and evocative leads. His quavering, shaky voice is a problem, though, and while he conjures up the feel of an old veteran country singer on some of his slower numbers, his singing often lacks the punch, power and sass of his guitar playing on the more upbeat material. You don't buy a Jimmy Thackery album for the vocals, though, and fans of his crisp guitar work won't be disappointed at all with Solid Ice, which comes packed with wonderful riffs and multi-tracked leads…