Producer Francis Wolff
Engineer Ed Greene
Personnel Ronnie Foster – organ
Grant Green – guitar
Idris Muhammad – drums
Houston Person – tenor saxophone
Clarence Thomas – sopranino saxophone, tenor saxophonePersonnel: Grant Green (guitar); Clarence Thomas (sopranino saxophone, tenor saxophone); Houston Person (tenor saxophone); Ronnie Foster (organ); Idris Muhammad (drums).Mojo (Publisher) (p.127) – 4 stars out of 5 — “Guitarist and band deliver a bonanza of funk-fuelled jazz grooves.”
By Norman Weinstein at allaboutjazz dot com
This is some apotheosis of both jazz-funk and Grant Green, just when you thought Blue Note was practicing overexposure by adding yet another Green disk to last year’s three discs worth of funky compilations. But this live session, which spent 35 years in the vault, transcends all previous Grant Green funk sessions by a mile.
A lot of the credit has to go to the pluperfect chemistry of the band. Green may have been Blue Note’s most erratic artist of the ’60s and ’70s, but the key to his best work involved matching him with a drummer who kept him steady and on-task. Art Blakey did this for the bop-flavored Green, and Idris Muhammad did it during his funk period. Muhammad enlivened a lot of other Green sessions, though, so part of the magic of this gem needs to be explained by the fiery tenor saxophonist Houston Person and the totally obscure but piercing soprano saxophonist Clarence Thomas, perhaps woodshedding to get through law school (just kidding).
The eight tunes are nothing special, often one or two-chord pieces that the band dances around with uncanny creativity. “Walk On By” seems an odd tune in this context, but maybe the lyrics touched some sappy sentimentality in Green’s heart. No matter. The musicians ruthlessly rip into it until they sound like a house band at a fundraiser for the ’71 Oakland, California Black Panthers. The crowd, however, sounds comatose, which is perhaps a plus, since a rowdy, drunk audience might have interfered with hearing the tasty licks.
The title of the final track sums up Grant Green’s career as well as this generously programmed 76-minute funk fest: “I Am Somebody.” I think it took Green a lot of years to figure out the somebody he was. This recording is evidence that at the end of his life, he did find his truest musical identity. He was a fierce funk improviser, and no studio session caught the fire—but this live session does.
From Dusty Groove
A rare funky treasure — lost live material from Grant Green’s hippest years at Blue Note — presented here for the first time ever ! The set’s an incredibly smoking one — with loads of long tracks that really stretch out in a hard-hitting, bottom-heavy funky mode — no surprise, considering that Idris Muhammad’s on drums, as part of a lineup that also includes Ronnie Foster, Houston Person, and Clarence Thomas! The groove here is a bit more Prestige jazz funk than Blue Note — the kind of rough-edged and spontaneous vibe that Rusty Bryant, Leon Spencer, and others cooked up during the early 70s on some of their best classics for that label — but Green’s a perfect person to catch the spirit of that wildfire, and jams long and nicely here on 8 tracks that include “Farid”, “Jan Jan”, “One More Chance”, “Patches”, “I Am Somebody”, “More Today Than Yesterday”, “Bottom Of The Barrel”, and “Walk On By”.
For much more by Grant Green, see the stellar and truly flabbergasting labor of love that is the Blaxploitation Jive website for a Grant Green discography here