George Freeman – New Improved Funk (1974) (with Von Freeman)

George Freeman – New Improved Funk
1974 Groove Merchant GM 519
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 192 khz | Art at  300 dpi
Soul Jazz –  Hard bop – Jazz
24-bit 192 khz – 1.55GB | 24 bit 96 khz – 902 MB | 238 MB 16-bit 44.1 khz

12 Days of Christmas – Day 1:  Except for the opening title track (all two minutes of it), this is a lot more of a straight soul-jazz album than the title would imply. It’s good stuff though, with great tenor playing by the late Von Freeman throughout the whole endeavor. Bobby Blevins on the organ chugging along like a mad lorry driver (“crazy trucker”).  George’s guitar playing can switch back and forth from Albert King-like, single-note runs laden with vibrato to angular scronking ala Sonny Sharrock within the same tune (Exhibit A: “Big Finish”, which closes out the first side of the LP…..

A1 New Improved Funk 2:26
A2 Daffy 3:34
A3 Happy Fingers 4:30
A4 All In The Game 4:31
A5 Big Finish 6:25
B1 Guitar Lover Man 3:16
B2 Good Morning Heartache 5:02
B3 Some Enchanted Evening 5:12
B4 Confirmed Truth 4:14

 

These manic mood changes can be jarring when Freeman chooses to play it fairly straight through ballads like Good Morning Heartache and Some Enchanted Evening, coaxing round sweet tones from that semi-hollow Gibson only to jolt us to attention with some spasmodic riffs.  The album closes with a convincing blues number, Confirmed Truth.  On the whole this is a solid entry from the always-worth-a-listen Groove Merchant label, but it also just reminds me that I have a few Chico Freeman albums I’ve been wanting to share ever since around the time he repatriated to the US a couple years ago.  This sure is one musical family tree.

Bass – LeRoy Jackson (tracks: A3 to A5)
Drums – Marion Booker(tracks: A1, A2, B1 to B3), Bob Guthrie (tracks: A3 to A5)
Guitar – George Freeman
Organ – Bobby Blevins (tracks: A1, A2, B1 to B3)
Piano – John Young (16) (tracks: A3 to A5)
Tenor Saxophone – Von Freeman

Producer – Sonny Lester
Mastered By – Sam Feldman
Art Direction – Sam Alexander
Photography By – Chuck Stewart

LINEAGE: Groove Merchant GM519 vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply; Creek Audio OBH-15; Audioquest King Cobra cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed with Click Repair on very light settings, manually auditioning the output; further clicks removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.


 

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