Before signing with Prestige in 1959, Willis "Gator Tail" Jackson had made his mark as a honkin’, shoutin’, bar-walkin’ tenor man. While elements of his R&B days were at times in evidence on his many Prestige LPs, Jackson tempered his attack and moved easily into the soul-jazz bag that was so popular on uptown jukeboxes in the early-to-mid 1960s. This set is a kind of survey course in "Gatorology," taking in selections from five albums made between January 1961 and September 1968. Jackson, with first-rate backing throughout (the sidemen include such giants as Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Burrell, and Roy Haynes), adapts his down-to-earth, big-toned approach to a variegated musical menu ranging from contemporary pop tunes to calypsos, and from boogaloos to Italian favorites to spirituals. But the main course is the soul-blues that was "Gator"’s bread and butter.
with Kenny Burrell, Tommy Flanagan, Roy Haynes, Juan Amalbert, Montego Joe, Jackie Ivory, Bill Jennings, Bucky Pizzarelli, Gildo Mahones, Richard Wyands, Mickey Roker, Wendell Marshall, and others