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Baby Face Willette

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Soul Stream,

Here is the Kenny Dorham review of Behind The 8 Ball from the July 29, 1965 issue of Down Beat.

" From what is happening on the first track, i sometmes wonder who selects the titles for these albums, because 8-Ball hits the nail on the head.

Universe is a eight-bar 6/8, we'll say--sanctified, blusey, listen-for-yourself thing. Is the universe round? If it is, it very well could be a bigger eight bars--out of sight...seven minutes and three seconds of it.

Amen.... Well, lets see here. Arranged by Willette... that alto... that poor guitarist is hung up in there--a victim of circumstance or choice?

Tacos Joe is a blues with a sancti-background. Guitarist White i like--but mucho tacos, hasta luego.

Roll'Em Pete ia listed on the cover but not on the record label. The a&r man or someone was in a hurry to get rid of this one. Wait a minute... Willette pays it .... guitarist just played a lick (musical phrase)--he's in trouble... poor fellow.

Just A Closer Walk. I don't like the idea of jazzing this. A line has to be drawn somewhere. I don't believe what i hear. He could,should be closer to thee or in.... St. James Infirmary. Well let's move on down the line to the next one, Sinnin' Sam, who is also behind the 8-ball.

There is nothing of sufficent musical content here to deserve a rating; so I'm leaving it where i found it--Behind The 8-Ball."

(K. D.)

Rating: no stars

Edited by Bill Fenohr

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Thanks for digging that out, Bill. What I'd like to know is, was KD ever so dismissive in any other review?

I do wonder if he'd have been more gentle with a better guitarist in the group.

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So did he dig "Song for the Universe?" Couldn't tell with all the hipster-isms going down. Hope so, cause it's one of the best organ cuts ever put down on wax.

KD seems pretty square.

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KD probably thought that Baby Face was the square one!

What that review brings into focus is how dismissive many of the more progressive beboppers were of the notion of "Soul Jazz". They found it regressive, tasteless, pandering, and simplistic, a step backwards, only one step above rock & roll, and, maybe, a step-and-a-have above R&B.

This is a reality that that we in the present are in danger of overlooking - all those organ sides that we love today were not universally loved by the entire jazz community in their time. But scratch the surface of today's jazz community and I think you'll find some of that sentiment still lingering, if only subconsciously.

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Yeah...I remember a Downbeat review of an organ group that summarized organ groups as "urban R&B".

I know several older organ group veterans who are largely dismissive of many organists as too loud and overbearing...and dismissive of players who seldom venture beyond 3 or 4 chords. From what I've heard of Baby Face he pretty much DID stick to 3 or change tunes. That's why a player like Larry Young is pretty much universally admired and more respected. He could play changes.

I'm not saying this to put down R&B or Baby Face Willette. I Love R&B and Baby Face is cool with me in small doses.

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Jim and Harold have hit the nail on the head.

I grew up hearing a lot of organ groups; both on record and live. I own more than a few records by many of the organists that are always mentioned in this forum. For the most part, I have to REALLY be in mood to listen to a whole cd ( the one other great tink about a LP is you only had on side to play at a time ) unless it is harmonicaly interesting. It has to MOVE.

I used to only be able to listen to Groove Holmes and Larry Young for any length of time because a lot of organ records are, in fact when you get down to it, pretty boring unless your'e partying!

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I used to only be able to listen to Groove Holmes and Larry Young for any length of time because a lot of organ records are, in fact when you get down to it, pretty boring unless your'e partying!

Well I for one do NOT need to have a party to have, or want to have, some fun.

:tdown

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because a lot of organ records are, in fact when you get down to it, pretty boring unless your'e partying!

Can't quite agree with you on this.

Organ tunes are good pick-me-uppers as well.

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A little too much generalization on my part. I can agree with you both a be a little more festive in the future.

We were discussing from Dorham's view of the genre, correct? Again, I agree with Jim and at the same time won't rain on your parade.

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FWIW, I was just trying to explain KD's antipathy towards the Baby Face side.

Myself, I dig KD & BF both. Different bags, obviously, but there's a place for all of it in my world.

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FWIW, I was just trying to explain KD's antipathy towards the Baby Face side.

Myself, I dig KD & BF both. Different bags, obviously, but there's a place for all of it in my world.

Same here.

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The problem with Jimmy Smith's invention of the B3 style in the 50's, is that it swings and is bluesy. No matter how harmonically inventive JOS and crew get, it's just lumped together by the "blue bloods of jazz" as crap.

Except Larry Young. People bow to LY and not JOS???? That's a frikkin' joke. But, I digress... In my book, Larry Young was no better than Baby Face.

If you think what Baby Face is doing on ANY of his recorded work is lame....listen to many of the "hip" jazz organist of today (...snooze). BFW could play and he played his life. R&B gigs w/Guitar Slim in New Orleans, Gospel gigs in a tent revival, Jazz gigs with Lou Donaldson. That was HIS life. He did it all, and did the HELL out of it.

A lot of jazz folk are soul-less snobs. That's cool. I put on my crappy BFW "Behind The 8 Ball" and be 10 times happier than they are listening to gobbly gook critics dig.

KD's attitude, sadly is what turns me off to jazzers. They only dig very complitcated music that they deem hard enough to play and play well. It's a very macho vibe.

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Jimmy Smith was a genuis, plain and simple. Listen to the shit he was doing in the late 50s... and then listen to Coltrane and you'll understand where 'Trane got some of his stuff.

All the giants of organ are as unique as Bud, Monk, Wynton (Kelly), Evans, Tyner, Hancock, etc. McDuff is different from McGriff. Holmes is different from Scott. Etc, etc. To listen to something by Don Patterson and get bored is scary to me, but to each his own.

In a related note, Soul Stream, I think you're really gonna dig the new Organissimo record but I also think some people on here might not, just by some of the comments I've been reading lately. It'll be interesting to read the reviews, that's for sure.

:g

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To be fair to KD, he also reviewed Introducing Eric Kloss and had nothing but good things to say about Don Patterson's peformance on the date. He gave that record 4 stars.

He also reviewed Night Of The Cookers Vol 2, and in his words, found it to be a tired record.

I dont think he was anti organ. I think he judged each record on its own merits.

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In a related note, Soul Stream, I think you're really gonna dig the new Organissimo record but I also think some people on here might not, just by some of the comments I've been reading lately. It'll be interesting to read the reviews, that's for sure.

Jim, I'm looking forward to hearing it OF COURSE! I get the feeling ya'll may not be in there playing "Nardis" in 20 different time signatures. That's cool. I understand that 100%. Be yourselves...and be the hell out of it!

We all want to recreate what the legends did. I understand, but in the end the Organissimo CD will sit right next to the Jimmy Smith CD at the story...it's GOT to be it's own thing. I think that's what you guys are doing, and THAT'S when it'll start to pay off for you. Be Organissimo. That's your strength, you're a GROUP. THAT is a very, very, very rare thing these days. And THAT can go far.

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Thanks, Soul Stream. Sure, I'm influenced by Jimmy Smith and Larry Young and every other organists I've heard and studied the records of, but in the end, I am not Jimmy Smith, so why should I try to play like him? I didn't grow up during the Great Depression in Pennsylvania, I'm not black, I didn't live through the 50s and 60s, so why should I sound like that?

I am really happy and proud of how the group is sounding these days. I think when people hear us on the radio, they'll be able to say, "Hey, that's Organissimo!" just by the sound. That's what I've always been striving for.

This record will probably not please a lot of people who think that jazz should sound a certain way. But it's not supposed to. My goal from the beginning was to no less than redefine the jazz organ trio. I don't know if we've gotten there yet, but we're getting closer. :)

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right ____in' on, Jim A.-- beautiful attitude, ambition (seriously).

as for KD-- wow, i'd never seen that...

SS-- you know where KD grew up, si?

for some reason thinking of "downtown" Manor, Texas today--

(has it been torn down & "redeveloped" yet?)

c

Hey Clem

From what Martin Banks alway said...Kenny Dorham was from Austin...as far as going to high school here at the very least. Of course, I don't REALLY know.

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Just a note about Baby Face...some of his best work imho is on Grant Green's "Grant's First Stand" and also Lou Donaldson's "Here 'Tis." In case anybody doesn't have those, by all means make an effort to.

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Thanks, Soul Stream. Sure, I'm influenced by Jimmy Smith and Larry Young and every other organists I've heard and studied the records of, but in the end, I am not Jimmy Smith, so why should I try to play like him? I didn't grow up during the Great Depression in Pennsylvania, I'm not black, I didn't live through the 50s and 60s, so why should I sound like that?

I am really happy and proud of how the group is sounding these days. I think when people hear us on the radio, they'll be able to say, "Hey, that's Organissimo!" just by the sound. That's what I've always been striving for.

This record will probably not please a lot of people who think that jazz should sound a certain way. But it's not supposed to. My goal from the beginning was to no less than redefine the jazz organ trio. I don't know if we've gotten there yet, but we're getting closer. :)

Your band is like my dream band. I don't want to JUST swing, I want some variety. I love the setup of the band Fourplay, but dont like their sound. I want to form a band someday and have a setup like theres and do what you are doing Jim. good luck with your new cd, I am going to buy it. I'm really short on money these days, no job or allowance. But I'll try. I'm so short my ciggs come from my sister, and I can't even pay her back. lol

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I'm so short my ciggs come from my sister

Well, see, that's your problem right there. Smoking stunts your growth.

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I'm so short my ciggs come from my sister

Well, see, that's your problem right there. Smoking stunts your growth.

I knew something was "stunting" this boy!

ALSO - time to stop the allowance.

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Smoking stunts your growth.

...and contributes to many other ill effects!

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Not the least of which is being indebted to your sister...

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I was actually kind of joking. My sister has never bought me a pack of ciggs, although she has given me some. I don't smoke on a regular basis, although I have. Just for clarification, cuz that's how I roll. :)

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You roll, eh? What kind of papers?

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