Recent listening, current

Saturday, April 6, 2013

73. The Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Cookbook, Vol. 1 (1958)

This first installment of the Cookbook is a treat for rhythm and blues fans, but holds sophisticated playing between its grooves and stays aloof from cliches, leaning closer to hard Chicago R&B than the half-cooked tunes I typically associate with items stamped "soul jazz." I should expect as much from the former partner of Johnny Griffin. Here, Jaws is joined by the talented Shirley Scott, who veritably steals the show in pulsing, impassioned choruses and wise use of the draw bars. George Duvivier plays solidly with deft Arthur Edgehill in a concise and unpretentious fashion that adds a feeling of security. There are several of the uptempo numbers in which Jaws excelled ("Have Horn, Will Blow," "Three Deuces") but the big tenor, along with a game Scott, really make their mark in the ballads. "But Beautiful" (pushing 13 minutes and sweating) and "In the Kitchen" are like love letters to the Hawk school, eloquent and hard swinging. You can tell these two get along, especially when Davis steps in after Scott, practically finishing each others sentences.

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