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I Want To Hold Your Hand (1965)

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Hank Mobley

The third of three sessions Grant Green co-led with modal organist Larry Young and Coltrane drummer Elvin Jones, I Want to Hold Your Hand continues in the soft, easy style of its predecessor, Street of Dreams. This time, however -- as one might guess from the title and cover photo -- the flavor is less reflective and more romantic and outwardly engaging. Part of the reason is tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, who takes Bobby Hutcherson's place accompanying the core trio. His breathy, sensuous warmth keeps the album simmering at a low boil, and some of the repertoire helps as well, mixing romantic ballad standards (often associated with vocalists) and gently undulating bossa novas. The title track -- yes, the Beatles tune -- is one of the latter, cleverly adapted and arranged into perfectly viable jazz that suits Green's elegant touch with pop standards; the other bossa nova, Jobim's "Corcovado," is given a wonderfully caressing treatment. Even with all the straightforward pop overtones of much of the material, the quartet's playing is still very subtly advanced, both in its rhythmic interaction and the soloists' harmonic choices. Whether augmented by an extra voice or sticking to the basic trio format, the Green/Young/Jones team produced some of the most sophisticated organ/guitar combo music ever waxed, and I Want to Hold Your Hand is the loveliest of the bunch. ~ Steve Huey