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Teasing the Korean

TTK's First Organ Groove Record

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When I was a high school student teaching myself about jazz, I used to listen to a local community radio station that played jazz in the evenings.  There was one DJ who spun a lot of organ groove stuff, and this was the first time I had ever heard this music.  This was ten years after this style had gone out of fashion, and ten years before it would become hip again.  

I would spend my free time combing the cutout bin at Peaches, and spending my lavish busboy's salary on cheap LPs.  This was during a period when Blue Note and Impulse! titles routinely showed up for $1.99 a throw.  If I knew nothing about the artist or the style of music, I knew enough to look for certain record labels.

So when I came across this LP for $1.99, I knew nothing about it, except that it was on Blue Note, it contained a cover of Aretha Franklin's "Think," and that the dude on the cover looked like a real badass in his pin-striped Nehru jacket.  It ended up being the first jazz organ LP I ever bought.

Last night, I was mixing cocktails and spinning LPs, and played this album.  The opening track is killer, and I remember how much I dug it the first time I played the LP.  The drumming on this track is sensational.

So, from the first jazz organ LP I ever bought, here is Lonnie Smith performing Hugh Masakela's "Son of Ice Bag:"

 

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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Back in '69, I managed a tiny record shop in a market mainly frequented by students. I was the wrong type for them, couldn't even sell 'Abbey road' on the day it came out! I'd play stuff like this and, amazingly, I sold 'Think' to an Ethiopian student! He came in when he heard 'Son of Ice Bag', looked at the label and said. "Seems like people put on a special effort working for Blue Note", and handed over the money!

MG

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1 hour ago, The Magnificent Goldberg said:

He came in when he heard 'Son of Ice Bag', looked at the label and said. "Seems like people put on a special effort working for Blue Note", and handed over the money!

It's so true.  At this time, buying jazz records and learning about jazz, some of the LPs just seemed like four of five guys playing tunes.  But the Blue Note albums seemed to have an aesthetic, a philosophy, and a concept.   I remember getting Empyrean Isles around the same time, reading the liner notes, and tripping out over the cover art. 

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That seems right. But it's also true of Prestige, Contemporary, Pacific Jazz (though Mr Bock had two concepts, I think), Atlantic (again a couple of concepts), and the other Prestige labels like Moodsville and Swingville. Very little of that music was really four or five guys playing tunes; there was always a purpose, if no more than a firm idea of the target audience.

MG

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Thanks for the post.  My favorite Lonnie Smith album - title track is just a killer.

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i got this during the Blue Note reissue times round 85-86. Possibly my first time hearing the great Melvin Sparks. Last year I found an original Liberty pressing locally. Love this session of course. Son Of Ice Bag was my favourite.

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“Son of Ice Bag” had a brief moment around that time, but with a couple of later exceptions, seems to have disappeared. I heard Jack McDuff do it once, and Hugh Masakela (who also recorded it). Was always curious about it, there had to be a story there...

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