Willis "Gator Tail" Jackson's meat-and-potatoes tenor saxophone moved easily from the blues and R&B on which he initially made his reputation through straight-ahead grooves, soul jazz, and blue ballads, and up to bossas, boogaloos, and covers of Sixties pop hits. After Hours joins two Prestige LPs, Loose. . ., from 1963, and Soul Grabber, made in 1967. On the earlier session Jackson (1932-1987) fronts a crackling seven-piece band, while on its companion he leads his working quintet of the period. Jackson's wide-ranging taste in material is unified by his expressive, big-toned tenor, although on the ballad "Alfie" he plays the custom-made gator horn, which sounds like a cross between soprano sax and oboe. Whatever the tune, be it a standard like "Sometimes I'm Happy" (wherein "Gator" honors the great tenorist Lester Young), the extended blues-with-a-backbeat that is "After Hours," the Junior Walker-esque "Soul Grabber," or even Peter, Paul & Mary's 1967 pop hit "I Dig Rock and Roll Music," Jackson and company never strike a false note.
with Wilbur "Dud" Bascomb, Bob Bushnell, Lloyd Davis, Joe Hadrick, Haywood Henry, Bill Jones, Sammy Lowe, Wally Richardson, Frank Robinson, Carl Wilson, Lawrence Wright