Think!, organist Lonnie Smith's 1968 sophomore effort for Blue Note, is easily one of the strongest dates the Hammond B-3 master would produce for the label. Featuring a stellar group of musicians including trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist David Newman, guitarist Melvin Sparks, and drummer Marion Booker, Jr., as well as a three-member Afro-Latin percussion unit led by Henry "Pucho" Brown, Think! is a perfect mix of funky soul and forward-thinking jazz. Kicking things off with Hugh Masekela's instantly memorable "Son of Ice Bag," both Sparks and Newman take searching funk-flow solos while Morgan seems to be remembering a certain Masekela lick he dug.
Reissue. Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. A stone killer from organist Lonnie Smith – one of his completely cooking early albums for Blue Note, and a hard-burner all the way through! Smith's working here with a really great group that includes Idris Muhammad on drums and Melvin Sparks on guitar – both of whom give the album a really heavy bottom, and almost make the set feel like one of those classic Prestige jammers from the same time.
Brace yourselves for The Art of Organizing, the very first appearance on Criss Cross by organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith. Organ jazz is of course an important part of the Criss Cross catalog. Our releases by the likes of Melvin Rhyne and Sam Yahel bear that out, also demonstrating how this vital idiom spans the generations. And you're very likely to find that a Criss Cross organ date involves modern master guitarist Peter Bernstein, an important leader for our label in his own right. Indeed, it is none other than Bernstein who joins Smith on The Art of Organizing.
The U.S. release of Melvin Taylor's two early-'80s LPs by Evidence a decade later was a shock introduction to a blues guitarist who seemingly blazed out of nowhere – outside of Rosa's Lounge in Chicago, that is. "Blazed" is the right word, too, because Taylor is a total maximalist who unleashes torrents of notes to fill up every space. But he's so convincing a player that the concept of "blues guitar hero" might get a good name again, even with fans dead-tired of excess who never thought they'd think things like, "Man, can Melvin Taylor play the ever-loving (add the expletive superlative of your choice) out of the guitar" again. Taylor's first real-time release, Melvin Taylor & the Slack Band, is a pretty straightforward affair – basic trio with minimal overdubs, servicable vocals in an Albert King mode, and a mix of originals and very classic covers. The opening "Texas Flood" lets him rip on a slow blues, constantly changing up his playing with wah-wah blitzes as the real ace in his sonic hole.
Jonathan Demme's breakthrough movie featured the shaggy energy and affection for marginal American eccentrics that marked his earlier Citizens Band (1977) and such later films as Something Wild (1986) and Married to the Mob (1988). Melvin Dummar (Paul LeMat) is a barely-getting-by Nevada milkman. One day in the early 1970s, while driving down a lonely highway, Melvin picks up a shaggy, bearded bum (Jason Robards Jr.) and offers him a ride into town. Melvin gives the bum a quarter at the end of the ride, and that, so far as Melvin is concerned, is that. The story goes off on a new tangent, involving the on-and-off marriage between Dummar and his contest-happy wife Lynda (Mary Steenburgen).