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CJ Shearn

Preliminary thoughts on the two new Grant Green titles on Resonance

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I posted this on Facebook, and a friend of mine for 24 years who is a drummer confirmed the issues I was hearing: Preliminary thoughts on Grant Green "Funk In France" and "Slick: Live At Oil Can Harry's". On the first album, the drummers are a weak link: here's why-- On the James Brown tune that opens "Funk in France", "I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up The Door and I'll Get It Myself) Don Lamond enters on the second bar of beat 2, and Grant has to hesitate a minute to see if the beat flips around to the correct sequence. What do JB's grooves do? they hit on the 1, and Lamond who usually played big band and bop, has trouble feeling the groove. It's only until Larry Ridley's bass grounds it where things get a bit better. On "Oleo" Lamond is rushing horribly, I actually like when some guys rush, but here it doesn't quite work and his 4 bar exchanges with Green playing Gene Krupa/Buddy Rich/Louie Bellson style phrases is a stylistic clash that is odd. Lamond settles in later and the rest of the set is fine. Make no mistake, Green and Ridley sound FANTASTIC, it's just that these hiccups, especially if you are tuned into drumming nuances like I am, are VERY noticeable.
 
It's very likely my review will be the first to point it out, A friend of mine and I were shocked that no reviews mentioned this. Billy Wilson on the Antibes sets on the first take of "Upshot" and "Hi Heel Sneakers" loses the groove twice in some strange places. Sometimes, a drummer drops out by design, and comes back a few beats later, perhaps he had to stop and pull his bass drum that maybe moved? On Oil Can Harry's the band is TIGHT. This was a working band, Greg Williams who is on the seminal "Live at the Lighthouse" understands and tunes into Green's rhythmic subtleties and plays off them in a way that allowed the guitarist to bloom. He always tuned into drummers. Both albums are a fun listen if you love groove, and "Funk in France" is recommended for straight ahead Green purists, it's just the above flaws for me are quite glaring.
 
Again, Grant sounds GREAT on both, as do Claude Bartee, Clarence Palmer and especially Emmanuel Riggins, more to come in a VERY in depth official review.

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Why is Don Lamond playing a James Brown tune? That should have been stopped before it happened.

I mean, I love Don Lamond, but....

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38 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Why is Don Lamond playing a James Brown tune? That should have been stopped before it happened.

I mean, I love Don Lamond, but....

Jim, I hear you.  It's pretty clear that both drummers on Funk In France were picked for the occasions of those gigs.  The liners state Willie Bivens on vibes couldn't make the gig for Antibes, but Billy Wilson seems to be a pick up drummer and the parts I mentioned are just odd.  He sounds best on "Hurt So Bad", and the second "Upshot" but there are some bits of weirdness going.  My friend indicated he's dragging on "Hi Heel Sneakers" but he was pretty explicit Lamond turns the beat around on the JB tune.  I'm not a musician, but I have good ears and even caught how weird it  was he started on the 2nd beat of the 2nd bar.  Next time I listen I'm going to count the "and".  Lamond sounds like he's playing a "commercial beat" if that makes any sense, and doesn't feel it at all.  The other anomaly that Clarence Palmer discussed in the notes is that they requested a B-3 but he was provide an M-3, so that changes his approach to bass lines and tone colors.  I love bits of Funk in France, the packaging and annotation are superb, but as an album, Slick!: Live At Oil Can Harry's works way better.   Idris Muhammad, Hugh Walker, Billy Cobham, Grady Tate or Jack DeJohnette, would have made  better drummers for the two Antibes gigs.

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Hugh Walker, now there's a name to look for!

 

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These 2 chapters in Grant's legacy are NOT gonna do what the Evans, Montgomery In Paris, and Thad Jones/Mel Lewis did as viable statements that truly add to it.  Nice for collectors like us and the energy of the performances but the execution from Lamond and Wilson is lacking.  Slick is sloppy as well but at least they lock into a groove and stay there.  Gotta listen more before writing but those are my impressions.

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I've spun Slick! 3 times and enjoyed it. I heard some slop but didn't think much of it since its a live set. I did wonder who had the damn whistle. (it didn't hurt the listen, but it was curious.) 

 

Funk In France was good but I've only spun once while after the libations were flowing. 

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Gerald Izzard had the whistle and it didn't bother me. Well, it is jazz and some mistakes can be thrilling (i.e. Tain Watts going against the time on "Knozzsmoeking" by Wynton Marsalis) but the gaffes by Lamond and Wilson are very noticeable. And since "Oleo" for all intents and purposes is a bop tune and in Lamond's wheelhouse, it's odd he was rushing, particularly when Grant's time feel is so relaxed and behind the beat.  The JB tune is way out of his element and it's a clear case of a jazz guy trying to play a funk beat with little authenticity.  That surprises me b/c Lamond did a lot of session work, right?  It's not like today where drummers like say, Johnathan Blake can sound as authentic funky as he can swinging.  Lenny White of course sounds legit in any context, whether it be jazz, R&B, funk, or pop. Will spin again tommorrow.  Both albums have terrific cover art though!

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2 hours ago, chewy-chew-chew-bean-benitez said:

theres a whistle?

Similar to the whistle blowing on ‘Live at the Lighthouse’ - adds to the party atmosphere and live feel.

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4 hours ago, chewy-chew-chew-bean-benitez said:

theres a whistle?

Yer there is. Put on Slick and wet your whistle chewy.

 

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17 hours ago, CJ Shearn said:
I posted this on Facebook, and a friend of mine for 24 years who is a drummer confirmed the issues I was hearing: Preliminary thoughts on Grant Green "Funk In France" and "Slick: Live At Oil Can Harry's". On the first album, the drummers are a weak link: here's why-- On the James Brown tune that opens "Funk in France", "I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up The Door and I'll Get It Myself) Don Lamond enters on the second bar of beat 2, and Grant has to hesitate a minute to see if the beat flips around to the correct sequence. What do JB's grooves do? they hit on the 1, and Lamond who usually played big band and bop, has trouble feeling the groove. It's only until Larry Ridley's bass grounds it where things get a bit better. On "Oleo" Lamond is rushing horribly, I actually like when some guys rush, but here it doesn't quite work and his 4 bar exchanges with Green playing Gene Krupa/Buddy Rich/Louie Bellson style phrases is a stylistic clash that is odd. Lamond settles in later and the rest of the set is fine. Make no mistake, Green and Ridley sound FANTASTIC, it's just that these hiccups, especially if you are tuned into drumming nuances like I am, are VERY noticeable.
 
It's very likely my review will be the first to point it out, A friend of mine and I were shocked that no reviews mentioned this. Billy Wilson on the Antibes sets on the first take of "Upshot" and "Hi Heel Sneakers" loses the groove twice in some strange places. Sometimes, a drummer drops out by design, and comes back a few beats later, perhaps he had to stop and pull his bass drum that maybe moved? On Oil Can Harry's the band is TIGHT. This was a working band, Greg Williams who is on the seminal "Live at the Lighthouse" understands and tunes into Green's rhythmic subtleties and plays off them in a way that allowed the guitarist to bloom. He always tuned into drummers. Both albums are a fun listen if you love groove, and "Funk in France" is recommended for straight ahead Green purists, it's just the above flaws for me are quite glaring.
 
Again, Grant sounds GREAT on both, as do Claude Bartee, Clarence Palmer and especially Emmanuel Riggins, more to come in a VERY in depth official review.

Obviously CJ the presense of Don Lamond as a drummer for Grant Green is a weak link. Especially considering there was probably no rehersal involved for any 'adaptation' to occur. I doubt Lamond thought he was gonna be hit with a James Brown song to kick off the gig? The first time I heard the set, the Lamond mismatch  was the thing that was like a small stone stuck inside your comfy runners. Antibes? Well yeah Candy Finch, Hugh Walker, Joe Dukes or JC Moses or any Organ Trio legend would have been great. So I think everyone who had heard the music on Funk In France beforehand knew there were flaws inherent in the performances. The guitar playing itself on the Antibes tracks are some of my favourite Grant Green. It's the kind of playing and repertoire/instrumentation that reflects to me what a 1969 Grant Green Prestige session might have sounded like (with a proper B3 and a more seasoned drummer).

I think you are right to say that these sets are not going to change too many peoples knowledge or perceptions of Grant Green for the better. But they certainly add wonderful content to what some of us already know and love.

15 hours ago, JSngry said:

Hugh Walker, now there's a name to look for!

 

yes, I'd like to look for it on the back cover of the next Resonance Records Grant Green release.= 'Live At The Left Bank with John Patton, Harold Vick and Hugh Walker ::mellow:

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3 hours ago, robertoart said:

Obviously CJ the presense of Don Lamond as a drummer for Grant Green is a weak link. Especially considering there was probably no rehersal involved for any 'adaptation' to occur. I doubt Lamond thought he was gonna be hit with a James Brown song to kick off the gig? The first time I heard the set, the Lamond mismatch  was the thing that was like a small stone stuck inside your comfy runners. Antibes? Well yeah Candy Finch, Hugh Walker, Joe Dukes or JC Moses or any Organ Trio legend would have been great. So I think everyone who had heard the music on Funk In France beforehand knew there were flaws inherent in the performances. The guitar playing itself on the Antibes tracks are some of my favourite Grant Green. It's the kind of playing and repertoire/instrumentation that reflects to me what a 1969 Grant Green Prestige session might have sounded like (with a proper B3 and a more seasoned drummer).

I think you are right to say that these sets are not going to change too many peoples knowledge or perceptions of Grant Green for the better. But they certainly add wonderful content to what some of us already know and love.

yes, I'd like to look for it on the back cover of the next Resonance Records Grant Green release.= 'Live At The Left Bank with John Patton, Harold Vick and Hugh Walker ::mellow:

That's a very interesting, balanced perspective.  Grant's playing on Funk In France is fantastic as is Claude Bartee and Clarence Palmer, and he's reveling in what he can get out of the groove where he can.  Actually IMO both albums show that GG was a much better player than people give him credit for, that's been discussed here ad naseum.

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Not sure they were supposed to get a digital release this early, but both titles are on Hoopla, so I'm listening to them that way.  I didn't see them on any other platform, but I didn't look that hard either.

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2 hours ago, ejp626 said:

Not sure they were supposed to get a digital release this early, but both titles are on Hoopla, so I'm listening to them that way.  I didn't see them on any other platform, but I didn't look that hard either.

Certainly not on Spotify over here, sadly.

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Slick seems complete on Hoopla, but the last track on Funk in France cuts out at about the 12 minute mark (it's supposed to be 27 minutes).  I've reported it to them in the hopes they can reload it correctly.

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It has to be a world play for "oil slick" and the slang meaning of slick. Maybe worthy of a chuckle?

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I guess it's all about marketing. Funk In France, Slick. 

Resonance did the same with the Wes titles pretty much, 'Smoking In Seattle' 'Echoes Of Indiana Ave'. 

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The last track on Funk in France wasn't fixed as of yesterday, which is kind of frustrating.  It may be worth noting that eMusic has added Slick, but not Funk in France (as of yet).

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I picked Funk in France up on Friday and listened to the Paris sessions and some of the Antibes. My preference (from what I’ve heard so far) is the Paris session. It’s closer to the GG from a few years earlier.  Don Lamond does sound a bit peculiar as noted by CJ and others. On the Antibes session, the organ sounds different to me, maybe because it’s an M-3 and not a B-3 (not that I’m a musician) or maybe it’s just how the session was recorded and sounds.  I have to listen some more. 

Edited by Brad

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I finished listening to the Antibes session and I can’t say Clarence Palmer is my favorite organist but I also recognize that the music is supposed to be funkier. However, what I found odd is that Grant Green doesn’t get as much solo space as you’d expect. These seem more like Bartee’s or Palmer’s session than Grant’s. 

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Listening to Slick this morning. I can't really say three's much going on that we didn't have in South Dallas clubs up until the latest 1970s, except that longass medley...and Grant Green. Canadian audiences seem less, uh...demonstrative than South Dallas audiences did, but that's ok.

It's club music. Nothing really wild happens, but it hits that mellow groove that feels just right when you're out of the house for a taste or two of a thing or two. I mean, a 25+ minute version of "How Insensitive" is either going to be totally mellow, totally intense, or total bullshit. This one is totally mellow.

Not really an "essential Grant Green side, but a pretty cool document of a part of the jazz life that used to be a given.

 

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Manny Riggins impressed the hell out of me. I wish he'd recorded more, especially with someone like Grant Green, who got him, because Riggins got HIM, too. I think Riggins is an undiscovered genius.

MG

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hmmm...I think he sounds like a lot of the better local players back in that time. The whole "splash" thing he does sounds like it would have worked on organ way better than it does on Rhodes. I love Rhodes, but heard so many players not getting that it wasn't a piano, nor was it an organ, it was a RHODES goddami! that...brrrrrr....

I really like that medley, though, especially once they kick into the O'Jays tune. THERE'S the pocket!

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