During the heyday of "soul jazz" (c. 1956-1965), boss tenor man Willis "Gator Tail" Jackson and organist Brother Jack McDuff kept uptown crowds hopping with their straightforwardly burning blend of blues-drenched and gospel-rooted swing. Jackson (1932-1987) had scored an R&B hit in 1952 with "Gator's Groove," while McDuff (b. Eugene McDuffy, 1926; d. 2001) would in the Sixties go on to lead a highly popular group in which a succession of young dynamos, including George Benson, was featured on guitar. But before McDuff went out on his own he was part of a Jackson-led unit that also spotlighted the left-handed guitarist Bill Jennings, whose tart work, with its interesting use of tremolo, at times betrayed country leanings. These 13 performances, made between 1959 and 1961, showcase each man at his funky best, whether engaging in call-and-response riffing, à la the Basie orchestra, on "Gil's Pills," stomping on the all-Gator spotlight "Tu'gether," walking the blues seductively on the jukebox and urban radio hit "This'll Get to Ya," or displaying their moving balladry on a three-song medley of great standards and a reading of "It Might as Well Be Spring" on which Jackson's sound suggests midnight-blue velvet.
with Buck Clarke, Bill Elliott, Milt Hinton, Bill Jennings, Al Johnson, George Johnson, Jimmy Lewis, Wendell Marshall, Tommy Potter, and Frank Shea