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Sassy Soul Strut (1973)

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Lou Donaldson

Sassy Soul Strut pairs Lou Donaldson with arranger George Butler to create a smooth, unabashedly commercial session some distance removed from the saxophonist's classic soul-jazz efforts. Emphasizing electric instruments and radio-friendly rhythms, the album nevertheless plays toDonaldson's strengths, focusing more on mood and texture and less on funk. Opening with a gutbucket rendition of Quincy Jones immortal "The Streetbeater" (far better known as the theme to television's Sanford and Son), Sassy Soul Strut quickly settles comfortably into a light, accessible mode too lively to dismiss as smooth jazz but too mellow to pass as anything else. Butler's arrangements haven't dated particularly well, but the record's too innocuous and good-natured to qualify as an outright failure. It's simply forgettable, nothing more and nothing less.