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Here 'Tis (1961)

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Dave Bailey

Here 'Tis is in the front rank of Lou Donaldson records, an exceptionally funky soul-jazz session that finds the saxophonist swinging harder than usual. As he moves from hard bop to soul-jazz, Donaldson reveals a bluesy streak to his playing while keeping the vigorous attack that defined his best bop. Donaldson's playing is among his finest in the soul-jazz vein, but what makes Here 'Tis such an enjoyable session is his interaction with his supporting trio of guitarist Grant Green, organist Baby Face Willette, and drummer Dave Bailey. As support, all three know how to keep a groove gritty and flexible, following Lou's lead and working a swinging beat that keeps flowing, never growing static. Green and Willette also have their time in the spotlight, and both musicians are frequently stunning. Green's single-note leads are clean and inventive; Willette is rhythmic and forceful, but also capable of soulful, mellow leads on the slow blues. Their talent, combined with Donaldson at a peak, results in a terrific record. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine