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Think! (1968)

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Melvin Sparks

Think!, organist Lonnie Smith's 1968 sophomore effort for Blue Note, is easily one of the strongest dates the Hammond B-3 master would produce for the label. Featuring a stellar group of musicians including trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist David Newman, guitarist Melvin Sparks, and drummerMarion Booker, Jr., as well as a three-member Afro-Latin percussion unit led by Henry "Pucho" Brown,Think! is a perfect mix of funky soul and forward-thinking jazz. Kicking things off with Hugh Masekela's instantly memorable "Son of Ice Bag," both Sparks and Newman take searching funk-flow solos whileMorgan seems to be remembering a certain Masekela lick he dug. Similarly expansive is the epic and frenetic Afro bliss-out "The Call of the Wild," which finds Newman in a heady, bluesy organ jam freak-out set against "Pucho" Brown's torrid Latin rhythms and Sparks' nasty repeto-funk guitar riff. By the time you get to the title track and realize "Oh, it's that "Think," all you can do is laugh at the utter hipness of it all and take pleasure in the notion that the album is only half over. [The Rudy Van Gelder Edition ofThink! features remastered sound by original producer Van Gelder, significantly improving the overall sound quality over the original release.