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Extension (1964)

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Grant Green

Pushing to the side the double sax that became his trademark, George Braith turned in his strongest record with Extension. Largely freed from the restraints of the dueling horns, Braith is able to explore the outer reaches of his music. He still remains grounded in soul-jazz -- any guitar-organ combo is bound to have soul-jazz roots -- but he pushes the music toward adventurous hard bop, often with rewarding results. His compositions are fully realized, with interesting melodic statements and plenty of opportunities for him and mainstays Grant Green on guitar and Billy Gardner on organ to stretch out. And when Braith does reach back for the double-sax technique, such as on the title track, it works because its otherwordly tone is better suited to this searching, adventurous music, than on the more basic fare that dominated Two Souls in One. The double horns do make Cole Porter's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" sound a little awkward, but even that song is redeemed by excellent solos. Nevertheless, it's the originals, and the way the quartet of BraithGreenGardner, and drummerClarence Johnston executes them, that make Extension the definitive Braith album.