Category Archives: Fred Jackson

Classic Albums on downwithit.info in 2014

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Happy New Year to all visitors, new and old. Here’s my 100th post on downwithit.

I still have an unfinished task from 2014 which is to look back at all the classic sets that I reviewed here in 2014. By classic I mean anything other than a new release so there are one or two sets from the present millennium included here. A quick count indicates that I wrote about 26 of these albums in 2014, so I think I can conclude that I wasn’t idle, especially given that I also wrote about a number of contemporary sets and offered up some live reviews.

What follows may be a bit of a trudge through a list, but I have linked to all the reviews and if any catch your interest, please click and take a look.

On NYD 2014 I started with a bang by taking a look at John Coltrane’s Blue Train, one of my all-time favorites that I urged everyone to obtain and listen to if they hadn’t done so already.

This was followed up by Lee Morgan’s The Sidewinder and a track that inspired numerous imitations.

My January postings dipped into dinner jazz in the form of Grover Washington Jr’s All The King’s Horses and British hard bop from the 1980’s UK jazz revival via Tommy Chase and Groove Merchant.

Thoughts of Tommy Chase led downwithit.info into fresh territory and I decided to devote some time to exploring the current scene, which was something that I really enjoyed during the course of 2014. If you want a recap of the newly released albums that I reviewed last year, they can be found here and my trawl of live performances is referred to here. I’m not sure if my ramblings have encouraged the purchase of a single album or attendance at any gigs but if they have, please leave a comment and let me know.

I wrote five reviews in February 2014 opening with Horace Parlan’s piano trio set Movin’ And Groovin’. I followed this up with Johnny Griffin’s Big Soul Band. I wavered about posting on that one because I thought that it was something of a departure from the classic small band context and that it would not fit- but it seemed to be OK and remains a popular review according to my stats.

Fred Jackson’s great Hootin”N Tootin’ was next up. At the time, I checked Wikipedia which did not give a date of death. Hopefully Fred still is with us and is enjoying a peaceful retirement at the grand age of 85 years old. If anybody knows more, please tell us.

A further less well-known Blue Note set, John Jenkins With Kenny Burrell was placed in the spotlight, before I took a look at Thembi by my favourite living saxophonist, Pharoah Sanders.

March 2014 saw me take an overdue look at Yusef Lateef (more to come in 2015) and Jazz Mood, his first set as a leader from 1957. The Cats, a fine session featuring John Coltrane followed and I made my first visit to a Grant Green recording on these pages with Grant’s First Stand.

In April, I brought news a a real gem: Heavy Sounds by Elvin Jones and Richard Davis, another set to listen to even if you have to beg steal or borrow. A slow journey north up the motorway system led me to grapple with Bobby Hutcherson’s Happenings. The same trip north gave me time to take a look at The Hot Club Of San Francisco’s Veronica and I got hold of a copy of Jimmy Smith’s lacklustre a less then incredible Softly As A Summer Breeze.

In May Sonny Clark’s Sonny Clark Trio was followed by another Sonny in the form of Sonny Rollins On Impulse, which sounds like a compilation album but isn’t. Later in the month, my local second-hand record store yielded up a copy of John Coltrane’s Ole.

I took another look at Grant Green with his lesser known Iron City, featuring a strong version of Hi-Heeled Sneakers, before returning to Blue Note and Harold Vick’s Steppin’ Out and later in September with Joe Henderson and Inner Urge.

I took the view that Archie Shepp and Dollar Brand’s Duet was slightly spoiled by Shepp’s poor sax technique on a couple of tracks, but I enjoyed Hank Mobley’s great Roll Call, Grant Green’s Green Street and Freddie Hubbard’s Ready For Freddie.

2014 was the year in which a bit of research yielded some more answers about Freddie Roach’s later years and I shelled out for a first pressing of All That’s Good which turned out to be much better than a shocking review suggested it would be.

I’ve already got a the first few reviews for 2015 in mind, so please come back soon and see what I’ve been listening to and remember that comments are most welcome.

One New Year’s Resolution– the quality of the photography at downwithit must improve. No excuses!

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Hootin’ ‘N Tootin’: Fred Jackson

Hootin n Tootin_

Hootin’ ‘N Tootin’ is a superb Blue Note soul jazz set that deserves to be better known and praised loudly. Although it was the only recording that he ever released as a leader, on the evidence of this set it is regrettable that this was Fred Jackson’s only opportunity to shine.

I picked up this CD on a visit to Japan a few years ago and the deal clincher for me was when I realised, somewhat to my surprise, that the great Earl Van Dyke was the Hammond organist on the session. EVD was later to become the foremost keyboard player amongst the session artists who made up the Motown house band, The Funk Brothers (who, as I was once assured when I had the good fortune to see them perform in London, cut more US Number One records than Elvis, The Beatles and The Stones added together). EVD, together with Wilbert Hogan on drums and guitarist Willie Jones were amongst Jackson’s fellow members of Lloyd Price’s band.

Fred Jackson played as a member of Little Richard’s touring band in the early 1950’s, before joining Lloyd Price and making his recording debut in 1961 on a BB King set. Shortly afterwards he played on Baby Face Willette’s acclaimed Blue Note debut Face to Face (which we will return to at a later date), before making his own recording debut with this session recorded in February 1962. A note on the Allmusic database states that Jackson recorded a single featuring John Patton on piano, presumably cut by Blue Note with an eye to the jukebox market that they used to publicise the label. However, this was never released, although Jackson did play tenor sax on Patton’s Along Came John and both tenor and baritone on The Way I Feel. Jackson made one further return to the studio as a leader and recorded material for a second album. However, whether due to slow sales of Hootin’ ‘N Tootin’ or the lack of enough material for a complete album, this material was only released in 1998 on a CD reissue. Sadly, these tracks are not on the Japanese CD that is in my collection, so I will have to track them down in due course.

Dippin’ In The Bag gets proceedings off to a good start with a brisk blues with Jackson running through a few interesting ideas, with nods to tradition. On reprising this album, the excellent guitar playing made me wonder whether it was Kenny Burrell, it wasn’t, it was Willie Jones.

Southern Exposure is an incredible track. A delightful guitar intro sets the tone before giving way to a plaintive slow blues and wonderfully expressive playing from Fred Jackson. But don’t take my word for it. What do you think (courtesy of marc higgins on YouTube).

Touch or click the arrow to play

Earl Van Dyke’s accompaniment and solo has a very churchy, reedy and later sanctified sound. I am sure there are Hammondistas who could tell us exactly what settings he was using here. Sadly I can’t add anything myself.

Preach Brother features a return to the upbeat with some straight-ahead R&B saxophone from the leader. Wade in the Water (see last posting) gets a brief nod and there is another fine solo from EVD. The title track Hootin’ ‘N Tootin’ gives Jackson another chance to work out with Hogan’s cymbals providing a pulse beat to guide the feet throughout.

Easin’ On Down is a loping, pensive sort of blues offering a dialogue between saxophone and Hammond organ before Jones delivers a Grant Green, single note picking solo and EVD gets a go too. One to snap the fingers to. The sleeve notes suggest that That’s Where It’s At is “…designed to lure wayward twisters into the jazz fold”. All I can add is: ‘Come on in!’ although I’ve never been any good at doing The Twist. Listeners will note a further reference to Wade in The Water here too. Way Down Home is the closer

Although a cursory Internet search has revealed little about Fred Jackson’s later life, the good news is that I haven’t found any obituaries or record of a date of death. So if you are still with us Fred, I hope you are enjoying life in your ninth decade and thanks for a great album.

The band etc: Fred Jackson (tenor saxophone); Earl Van Dyke (Hammond organ); Willie Jones (guitar); Wilbert Hogan (drums). Recorded: 2 February 1962. Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Recording: Rudy Van Gelder. Cover photos: Francis Wolff. Cover Design: Reid Miles. Sleeve notes: Dudley Williams. Originally issued as Blue Note 4094.

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